Hillary Clinton

The Libertarian Democrat: A Dream that Won't Die

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Glenn Greenwald keeps the meme alive in Salon.

Bully to him for sticking to it, even after the election.  But the piece mostly promises that the Democrats won't do more damage than the GOP has already done.  That is, they won't take more swipes at gay marriage, pass flag burning bans, or—I guess—take extraordinary measures to bring Terry Schiavo back from the dead.  Not exactly revolutionary.

Thing is, given the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency and her tendency to lurch to the right on social issues, I'm not even sure Greenwald could hold his ground on that promise.  Welcome as their talk on libertarian Democrats may be, I doubt Greenwald or Kos is going to waste any political capital to raise objections if, for example, Hillary wins the nomination, and includes in her platform promises to expand the FCC's indecency jurisdiction to cable TV, imposing a federal ban on advertising sugary foods to children, or on alcohol advertising at college sporting events—to name just a few examples.

What I'd really like to see from the libertarian Democrat crowd is some offense.  Instead of promising not to do any more damage to personal liberty, why not try to win some back?  How about cutting off funding for the DEA's jack-booted marches into California's medical marijuana clinics?  While you're at it, snip the purse strings for the agency's persecution of pain specialists, too.  And remove the federal ban on scientific research into the possible health benefits of marijuana.  Revoke the Internet gambling ban, or—even better—legalize online wagering to eliminate any ambiguity.  Repeal federal asset forfeiture laws.  Repeal the federal minimum drinking age and the national .08 blood-alcohol standard.  De-fund the FCC's war on dirty words, and the DOJ's war on dirty pictures.  I could go on.

The point, of course, is that there's more to the personal freedom side of libertarianism than gay rights and abortion.  There's nothing inherently contradictory about liberalism and the suggestions listed above, other than perhaps a general knee-jerk defense of government power and influence (although one huge hurdle to any left-libertarian alliance will be the left's love for the public health crowd).  But the whole point of the "libertarian Democrat" meme is to move away from all of that.

My advice to Kos and Greenwald:  Stop telling us what you won't do.  Tell us what you'll do.  Bring the new leadership around on a few of these issues.  Then we'll know you're serious.

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  1. although one huge hurdle to any left-libertarian alliance will be the left’s love for the public health crowd

    Let’s not forget:

    Socialized medicine. Hillary! has already promised to bring that one back.

    Their hatred of guns and gun owners. Sure, they’ve gone dark on it because they thought it cost them votes, but just like socialized medicine, it will be back.

    Their love of taxes, both for revenue and social engineering purposes.

    Their disregard for free trade.

    I predict that the Dem’s fear of being painted as soft on drugs and soft on terrorism will prevent any kind of advances on the civil liberties front, as well.

  2. I predict a new “war” to join the ones against drugs and terrorism. The War on Video Games.

    For libertarians, the usual “gains” made by a party switch will be offset by losses when the new party screws us over. The more they win, the more we lose.

  3. What’s the repeal of the blood alcohol standard all about? Are libertarians in the US against restrictions on drink driving? Please enlighten an ignorant foreigner…

  4. Actually, the headline should have read “The Libertarian Democrat: The Wet Dream That Can’t Become Reality”

  5. David,

    I believe it has more to do with the arbitrayness of the of the standard. Frankly, BAC tests are fine with me as long as the offender was pulled over for ACTUALLY breaking the law, like speeding, swerving, missing a stop sign, etc. Random stops are rediculous and shows the arbitrariness of the BAC test for drinking.

  6. My gut reaction to the idea of a libertarian democrat is that it seems funny more than anything else. …even as Obama and Edwards sign on to pressure Wal*Mart into the same stupid, union health care scams that all but drove various American auto makers and airlines into insolvency.

    …Yeah, even while the Democratic leadership fights to put the American taxpayer on the hook for union health care costs that all but bankrupted GM, I’m supposed to find the Democratic Party somehow, strangely appealing!?

    That’s my gut reaction. Cooler heads might stop to think that people learn how to crawl before they walk, and aren’t born speaking full blown articulate sentences. So there are some Democrats who realize that they need to take us into consideration, swing voters that we are? …that’s a good thing! So some of ’em are trying to figure out how to appeal to us, trying to figure out what they can do, given their base, to appeal to us? …that’s a good thing too.

    Let’s see if we can encourage them.

  7. What’s the repeal of the blood alcohol standard all about? Are libertarians in the US against restrictions on drink driving? Please enlighten an ignorant foreigner…

    It’s because under our Constitution (if anyone paid attention to it) issues like determining blood-alcohol content are supposed to be left to the individual states to figure out. For example, if the voters of a state wanted to set a BAC of 0.00%, then they would have the right to do it.

    Similiarly, if the voters of a state wanted to allow a BAC of 0.25%, then they would have the right to do that, too.

    What wasn’t supposed to happen was the US Congress arbitrarily setting a limit and forcing every state to adopt it.

  8. Of the course the tax cuts will expire without giving renewal a chance to see the day of light. And of course the minimum wage will be raised. The two ‘libertarian democrat’ results that come to mind first. Personally, I see the socially conservative democrat, which is the dumbest position to take, more of a reality in the near future.

  9. Cut military spending. That is libertarian, because it reduces the size and power of the government, and I think President Hillary would be good at it if she put her mind to it.

  10. “My advice to Kos and Greenwald: Stop telling us what you won’t do. Tell us what you’ll do. “

    Balko, like the little old lady in those Wendy ads of yore asks “Where’s the beef?”

    Guess what? There is none. The Democrats have no love of liberty.

  11. Where are the elected “libertarian Democrats”?

    At least libertarian Republicans have Ron Paul, Jeff Flake, Gov. Butch Otter and Gov. Sarah Palin to point too.

    The so-called “libertarian Democrats” have virtually zero.

    Ask yourself this; How many former Libertarian Party members run off to the Democrats to run on their ticket and get elected? Now, how many former LPers do the same on the GOP ticket?

    About 100 to 1.

    Fact: Every single past Libertarian Party Presidential candidate save Harry Browne, was or is now a Republican (Ron Paul and John Hospers have gone back to the GOP).

    Those at DailyKos who advocate libertarians joining the Democrats, show their condensencion for us libertarians by their complete lack of acknowledgement of such statistics.

    I’d love to see how they explain a Ron Paul, “Republican” Congressman.

  12. Radley, about this: I doubt Greenwald or Kos is going to waste any political capital to raise objections if, for example, Hillary wins the nomination, and includes in her platform promises to expand the FCC’s indecency jurisdiction to cable TV, imposing a federal ban on advertising sugary foods to children, or on alcohol advertising at college sporting events — to name just a few examples.

    Perhaps with Kos, but you don’t read Greenwald’s blog closely — and his comments in his comments section — if you think that is true for him. He is very big on the state staying out of anything pertaining to adult, consensual choices. And he is a Hugo Black absolutist on the First Am/free speech. He is ardently against gun control.

    In sum, he evinces every symptom of libertarianism.

  13. Oh, and P.S. Since Greenwald recruited me to write two guest posts in opposition to the drug war — and has frequently stated his own profound disgust with it — he isn’t going to be lovin’ Hillary and Dems who are drug warriors.

  14. …under our Constitution (if anyone paid attention to it) issues like determining blood-alcohol content are supposed to be left to the individual states to figure out.

    More than states’ rights, aren’t DWI checkpoints direct violation of the Fourth Amendment? This is akin to going up to every house in the neighborhood, knocking on the door, and saying, “Excuse me, Sir/Ma’am. Have you been smoking pot this evening?” (Please NOTE: I fully endorse Radley Barko’s campaign to eliminate paramilitary-style attacks on the homes of drug suspects. They suck, too.)

    …as long as the offender was pulled over for ACTUALLY breaking the law, like speeding, swerving, missing a stop sign, etc.

    This is dead-on. Which is worse? A guy crosses the centerline and kills a family of four while sober (but, say, driving while tired) or one who does it after a few beers? Is it really a greater offense to have committed the act drunk?

    Driving after (or while) drinking is like carrying a loaded gun – you merely have the potential to do damage. The Second Amendment could be interpreted as “We believe that there are people who can own firearms without causing harm to others.” To me, it doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch to apply that thinking to drinking and driving. Try setting up a “Shotgun Rack Checkpoint” and see how much support that gets!

  15. Liberals and Libertarians don’t mix politically, other than our hatred of right wing wackos.

    It is foundational. True liberals have a hard time answering the following questions:

    “Can land be owned?”
    “Is property theft?” and
    “Can a free market ever supply a satisfactory result?”

    I asked a liberal friend these questions and he said, “Shouldn’t be” “Depends” and “No”

    I love liberals and hippies to death, but I’ve come to the conclusion they are hardwired differently than me.

  16. Remember the campaigns? The Dems just got elected on the basis of who they aren’t and what they won’t do. They call it a ‘mandate’.

    Why should they stick their necks out now?

  17. And again, I argue that, becuase there are (at least) two dimensions of conservative vs. liberal, a true libertarian should want the tight fiscal-mindedness of a conservative Republican (small gov, let people keep the money that they earn) and the looser social standards (legalize it) of a liberal Democrat. A libertarian is someone who desires conservative economics and liberal views of civil liberties.

    In other words, a Libertarian should be both a little Republican and a little Democrat. Or, maybe, neither.

  18. In sum, he evinces every symptom of libertarianism.

    This may be true for Greenwald, but that’s not the point. The real question that Balko is asking is, will these so-called Libertarian Democrats put pressure on their party’s rock stars when abandon any pretense of libertarianism, a-la Hillary Clinton– or will they simply give them a pass?

    As a kid, I learned my libertarian principles from liberals– not conservatives. My belief in constitutional principles suich as first amendment, my understanding that the U.S. was not the world cop (foreign entanglements), my belief in the fifth amendment, etc. Basically, when I finally decided to join the ‘liberal party’, they had all left.

    Given the chance, Democrats can become everything they hate about Republicans and vice versa. We have proof.

  19. The Libertarian Democrat thing is just so ridiculous, as much as I like hearing libertarians discussed seriously by other parties. I read Balko’s post and just started laughing out loud when I got to the “put your money where your mouth is” thing, because that’s so far from what Democrats want to do for themselves. They hyped the libertarian democrat thing to get some votes, but it’s garbage, and it shows a horrible misunderstanding of what libertarians are actually all about.

  20. tight fiscal-mindedness of a conservative Republican (small gov, let people keep the money that they earn) and the looser social standards (legalize it) of a liberal Democrat.

    Republicans have failed utterly to keep principles of ‘fiscal-mindedness’ and Democrats have failed miserably in their ‘looser social standards’.

    A libertarian should feel very, very lost right now.

    You want uptight social standards, move to an urban liberal enclave. You’re in for a real treat.

  21. DavidS,

    The pure libertarian stand, based on a strict application of libertarian principles, would be to only punish people who have actually hurt others with their wreckless driving, not those who are merely statistically more likely to do so (though wreckless endangerment may be a gray area of libertarianism). As previous posts show, not all libertarians necessarily want to go that far but still feel the standards are too low, enforcement too invasive and federal involvement out of line with the Constitution.

  22. You want uptight social standards, move to an urban liberal enclave. You’re in for a real treat.

    I’ve yet to see any uptight social standards in Boystown. At least, not uptight by any conventional means.

  23. Driving after (or while) drinking is like carrying a loaded gun – you merely have the potential to do damage. The Second Amendment could be interpreted as “We believe that there are people who can own firearms without causing harm to others.” To me, it doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch to apply that thinking to drinking and driving. Try setting up a “Shotgun Rack Checkpoint” and see how much support that gets!

    First off, there are plenty of jurisdictions in the US where a random check of drivers for guns would be pretty popular.

    In addition, the 0.08 limit doesn’t mean you can’t drink or drive — it means that if you drink enough to become impaired, you can be charged with a crime.

    There’s a fundamental difference between carrying a loaded gun and driving while impaired. Your car has the same ability as a gun (if not more) to do mayhem and damage. The key difference is your ability to control it, which despite the recent “studies” conflating sleepy/distracted driving with drunk driving, is significantly higher when you are impaired.

    Now, if you had said that carrying a loaded gun while impaired is roughly the same as driving while impaired, I’d agree. In both situations, your ability to act in a safe and responsible manner are severely compromised.

    And not coincidentally, most traffic deaths and firearm homicides are drug- or alcohol-related. People who act irresponsibly with psychoactive substances generally tend not to be too responsible with heavy machinery or power tools or firearms, either.

    Nevertheless (and getting back to the original point) it’s not the duty of the US Congress to force people to be responsible in the first place.

  24. Cab,

    Those must be some pretty extremist lefties you hang out with. I would call my self a liberal/libertarian and have very rarely voted Republican. But my answers to those questions would be “Of course,” “of course not,” and “it usually does.”

    I have to say, I don’t get the knee-jerk idea that Republicans are more friendly to libertarian ideas. In my lifetime, the Republicans have always been the party of more police, more military spending, make abortion illegal, crack down on drugs, law and order, etc. I was always somewhat sympathetic to their idea to scale back government, but I think we all see now that that was just empty political posturing.

    Eric, liberals don’t have to explain why Ron Paul is a Republican. I wish I knew why Ron Paul is a Republican.

    Take this with the following grain of salt: I think the Democrats suck too. To paraphrase Trey & Matt: I hate democrats, I just hate republicans more.

  25. It’s funny how much play this Libertarian Democrat thing has gotten. A lefty friend of mine who apparently didn’t realize I consider myself libertarian (I don’t talk about it off line very much) was chortling over how libertarians were voting Democratic now because they found that Republicans don’t really give us smaller government but rather things like torture instead. He’d apparently heard something about this L-D thing and thought libertarians were seeing the errors of their ways and switching to the Democratic party in droves. I didn’t think there were even droves of us in the first place! You’d think we were Soccer Moms or something!

  26. A lot depends on where you live. I was a libertarian who voted exclusively Democrat when I was in Florida, but since moving to the Northeast I vote for local Republicans more than Democrats. Still vote for Democrat presidents though.

    Why? Because I hate the religous right. I’d rather see 80% taxes on everything than their social agenda played out in full.

  27. I’ve yet to see any uptight social standards in Boystown. At least, not uptight by any conventional means.

    Steven Crane, methinks you’re in the wrong urban liberal enclave:

    Smoking bans.
    Liquor bans.
    Teen dance ordinance.
    Holloween bans (religious sensitivity training).

    Plus, aside from what’s codified into law, there’s nothing more infuriating than an entire populace that’s steeped in identity politics. Is it any coincidence that a major local rag has an article titled “Uptight Seattlite”?

  28. Why? Because I hate the religous right. I’d rather see 80% taxes on everything than their social agenda played out in full.

    Maddog, with our current two party system, you’ll see both.

  29. I want to make gun ownership safe, legal, and rare.

    While I might not personally agree with private firearms ownership, I would not restrict a woman’s right to choose whether or not to own and/or carry a gun for self-protection.

    The I.D. requirements to purchase a firearm discriminate against the poor and elderly, who may not be able to afford a state-issued I.D. card.

    While some people may be opposed to subsidizing gun purchases for the poor, our tax dollars are spent on many things that many people object to.

    A minor should not be required to notify her parents if she chooses to buy a gun. It may be an abusive male relative that she needs protection from.

  30. Ask yourself this; How many former Libertarian Party members run off to the Democrats to run on their ticket and get elected? Now, how many former LPers do the same on the GOP ticket?

    I think that shows that more people are concerned with their pocketbook than with social freedoms. I personally feel the reverse, which means I am more “comfortable” with Democrats than Republicans. If I were a true LPer, I would rather spend my time trying to convince Democrats to abandon their statist ways (a difficult, but hardly insurmountable task) than to convince Republicans to abandon their morally superior, controlling ways (a virtually impossible task).

    I asked a liberal friend these questions and he said, “Shouldn’t be” “Depends” and “No”

    Then your friend is a communist, not a liberal. I know loads of liberals who can furnish the correct answers to those questions.

  31. This may be true for Greenwald, but that’s not the point. The real question that Balko is asking is, will these so-called Libertarian Democrats put pressure on their party’s rock stars when abandon any pretense of libertarianism, a-la Hillary Clinton– or will they simply give them a pass?

    The first order of business in election ’06 was ridding ourselves of one-party-rule by a statist, authoritarian, lawless GOP. Democrats were and are the only realistic solution to a GOP whose social policy is driven by evangelical nutbars, and who spend $$ like drunken sailors. Not to mention their lovely little wars and constant fearmongering.

    Now that that has been accomplished, we can move back to other issues. Even before the election, Greenwald annoyed some of his European readers by posting a strong criticism of their (and Canada’s) “hate speech” laws. Today, he takes on the wrongness of Germany’s “universal jurisdiction” as a means of trying Donald Rumsfeld. (And that certainly would not be because he was a proponent of the war in Iraq, torture & etc.) If Greenwald were to post a paean to Hillary’s video game campaign, well, let’s just say I’ll believe it when I see it.

    All I’m saying is, people should be held accountable for their actual political posture and positions, and not lumped together. Greenwald isn’t Kos.

  32. It strikes me that for Libertarians there is more to gain by an alliance with the Dems than with the GOP. (1) a less bellicose foreign policy–advantage Dems; (2) rational and humane treatment of those accused of crimes or terrorism–advantage Dems; (3) civil rights of American citizens–advantage Dems; (4) social issues in general–advantage Dems; (5) overall government spending–a push; (6) military spending–advantage Dems; (7) a rational, moral approach to science and scientific research–advantage Dems; (8) corporate welfare–slight advantage Dems; (9) trade–actual Dem pols seem open to market solutions in many areas (Libertarians are never gonna get everything they want here); (10) drug war–slight advantage Dems; (11) willingness to consider the United States a part of an international community–advantage Dems; (12) abortion–advantage Dems; (13) torture–advantage Dems.

    The GOP is better on gun control and taxes (especially if you are filthy rich), but the Dems are more likely to deliver on (what I consider to be) the main desires of libertarians: governmental restraint concerning intervention in citizens’ lives and respect for human rights worldwide.

  33. DavidS

    Drunk driving laws, heavily pushed by the activists at MADD, have been the arena of a bunch of patently unconstitutional shenanigans all the way up to the Supreme Court. Take a look here for some good information.

  34. (1) a less bellicose foreign policy–advantage Dems; False.
    (2) rational and humane treatment of those accused of crimes or terrorism–advantage Dems; True.
    (3) civil rights of American citizens–advantage Dems; False (partially) Dems are good in some areas, and horrible in others. First amendment: Dems mediocre to bad.
    (4) social issues in general–advantage Dems; True (partially) Depends on how and what social issues you’re defining.
    (5) overall government spending–a push; Falser than false.
    (6) military spending–advantage Dems; True.
    (7) a rational, moral approach to science and scientific research–advantage Dems; True (partially) See liberal tendencies to embrace “alternative medicine” and half a dozen other pseudo-science positions.
    (8) corporate welfare–slight advantage Dems; Not sure. “Too big to fail” is a very bi-partisan position.
    (9) trade–actual Dem pols seem open to market solutions in many areas (Libertarians are never gonna get everything they want here); Abstain
    (10) drug war–slight advantage Dems; Abstain
    (11) willingness to consider the United States a part of an international community–advantage Dems; True.
    (12) abortion–advantage Dems; True.
    (13) torture–advantage Dems. Probably true, I’m waiting…

  35. Eric Dondero: Ron Paul rocks, but he isn’t the face of the modern GOP. You are using “statistics” that do not reflect what is happening — a political realignment. Last week I voted a straight party ticket for Democrats, something I would have told you even two years ago was nigh unto impossible.

    If the GOP cleans its house, and gets a Goldwater groove back, great. If not, the current GOP is a libertarian’s abomination and I won’t generally vote GOP. All the reasons they lost so many of us us are a by-product of a serious statism/authoritarianism infection. Clear that up, and then we can talk again.

  36. As far as the Hillary Clinton wing of the Democratic party goes, the best case libertarian scenario you will ever see out of them is pretending that your libertarian ideas would make sense in a perfect world, BUT, we have to have government control over everything “for the children”.
    Hence forced socialized medicine, pretending there is no 2nd amendment (but the ACLU cares so much about the constitution, I’m sure they’ll be all over this one), deciding what you can or can’t watch/play/listen to (Republicans always get the blame for this one, but the biggest offenders on this issue are named Gore, Clinton, and Lieberman), deciding what you can eat, what you can do with your own land, what you can drive, etc. All “FOR THE CHILDREN!”, end of argument.

  37. Hi Paul,

    On the “bellicose” foreign policy, certainly the historical record of the Dems isn’t that great, but I was comparing recent histories. Clinton’s lobbing of missiles to deflect attention from Monica was reprehensible, and the whole Balkans thing seemed to me to have a flimsy basis, but such things pale in comparison to Iraq and the set of assumptions that led us there. I believe that if Gore were president, we never would have invaded Iraq.

    On the spending, Dems could potentially save a lot with cuts in defense, and their spending could not be any worse than the recent GOP efforts to break the bank.

    You are right about liberals and alternative medicine, of course, but faced with the choice I would take “alternative medicine and stem cell research funded and no creationism in the schools” over “every embryonic glob is a person, creationism and no funding for alternative medicine.”

    The reason I think that Dems may actually have something to offer on the trade front is partially a trade-off: the GOP sense of “free trade” seems little more than letting their friends in big business write the rules to force out competitors. Many Dems have already accepted the superiority of market solutions, and they are more likely to see things from the little guy’s point of view (but not always of course).

    Of course, whether you think all this adds up to a case for a left-libertarian alliance depends on how you weigh the different factors. For me, lower taxes are important, but not nearly as important as not invading other countries, etc.

  38. To the other guy, besides Fyo, with the hippie friend:

    1. Some property is theft. Corn subsidies spring to mind, but there are many examples. Your hippie friend had the correct answer.

    2. On your free market question, if markets were truly free then they would not work. Markets require government enforced contract law to work, and may require tort law as well (we will see how far China and India get without tort). If markets in the US were free then Ken Lay would not be in hiding. Once again the hippie nailed it.

    3. If the Democrats do “change their stripes” (as an Internet buddy of mine puts it), it will be bacause they have seen what Republicans can do to subvert big federal programs and budgets when they get their turn at power. they may forget or ignore this lesson, but I think it goes beyond desire to get votes and fear of losing votes.

  39. Now that that has been accomplished, we can move back to other issues.

    Yeah, Mona, we get that. Our question is just what these other issues are that the Dems will be pushing.

    I’m betting few to none of them increase my liberty.

    I see a bunch of people promising to raise my taxes and implement gargantuanly expensive social programs.

    I also see a bunch of nanny staters itching to get their fingers back on the levers of power. Gun control? Coming back. Innumerable micro-infringements “for the churlen”? You betcha.

    As for improving the culture of corruption and cronyism, I got five names for ya: Pelosi, Reid, Murtha, Byrd, and Hastings.

    As for your fond dreams of a repealed PATRIOT Act and a precipitous retreat from Iraq, my guess is the Dems will conclude softening either our foreign policy or our “homeland security” will get them tarred as “soft on terrorism”, and they will decline to do either.

  40. Beyond the unconstitutional nature of the Federal Government mandating drunk driving laws (actually, I’d support almost any party, no matter the other planks in it’s platform, as long as it adhered to federalist limits on national government), the .08 BAC is just plain dumb, in that it consumes finite resources by attempting to alter or punish the behavior of people who do not statistically pose much more of a deadly threat than sober geezers and tailgaters. Meanwhile, the true deadly threats, the boozers careening around with BAC of .15 or higher, have less resources devoted to changing or punishing their behavior.

    A drunk in New Mexico the other night killed five people when he went down the wrong way on an interstate exit ramp and eventually cut a family’s minivan in half. The guy was a five-time offender with a BAC of over .3! If money had been used to keep him jailed for many, many years, say after his third offense, or to simply have more officers observing for flagrant drunks, instead of money being used to cite your local insurance agent who blew a .085 at a random stop after she had two glasses of wine, well, that may be a better use of tax revenues.

    Using random stops to inhibit the behavior of the hard core drunks who cause the most danger is as effective as “assault rifle” bans are at inhibiting the behavior of armed robbers.

  41. Does anyone know if democrats will be better on phone tapping issues?

  42. Corn subsidies spring to mind, but there are many examples.

    Corn subsidies aren’t “property”, they are the forcible redistribution of wealth by the government. You and your hippie buddies are wrong, Sam.

    Free markets do not mean anarchy. For presenting a straw argument, Sam and his hippie buddies are hereby declared wrong again.

    The notion that the Dems will go libertarian out of fear of what the Repubs will do with big government next time they take over has to be the stupidest thing I’ve read here at H & R in some time. And that’s setting the bar pretty high.

  43. I’m in Chicago, dogg.

  44. In a true libertarian world, there would be no ownership of property, since by definition you owning a tract of land means that my liberty is limited since force can used against me to prevent me from standing on it.

  45. RC Dean writes: I also see a bunch of nanny staters itching to get their fingers back on the levers of power. Gun control? Coming back. Innumerable micro-infringements “for the churlen”? You betcha.

    No doubt gun control is on the wish list for some — but it won’t pass, and even if it did, that is what Bush’s veto pen is for. (Jon Tester and Jim Webb are not going to vote for gun control, btw.)

    The Democrats are far from perfect. (And I didn’t make any observations about corruption; I’m aware of Murtha’s baggage there — they are all weasels). But right now, there are good reasons to prefer Democrats, at least unless and until it again becomes the case that they are worse than the GOP.

  46. Corn subsidies are vital to the national interest. Without them we wouldn’t be able to afford all those tasty HFCS sweetened foods!

  47. Dan T.,

    Nice!

    The whole L-Dem thing is, was and forever will be a joke. Republicans are just slow Democrats. If you thought republican control was bad for L’s, you ain’t seen nothing yet. War on Video Games, More War on Drugs, War on Gun Ownership, War on Smoking, War on Fatty Foods etc…

  48. Given that the attorneys general for the two most populous states, both Democrats, and one about to become governor, have advocated prison rape as a means of extra-judicial punishment for felons they dislike, it is hard to see why Democrats should be viewed more favorably in regards to prisoner treatment or torture, especially since the Clinton gang had no inhibitions regarding using rendition to farm out torture to sub-contractors.

    Given that Democrats were much more supportive of the notion that Congress may pass a law to regulate the content of political messages made by certain assemblies of citizens at certain times prior to an election, and have been more energetic in proposing hate-speech regulations, it is hard to see why they should be seen as being better on civil liberties, even ignoring the 2nd Amendment issues.

    Given that Democrats have been every bit as supportive, if not more so, of the notion that eminent domain can be used to transfer homes and small business property to real estate developers, it is hard to see why Democrats should be seen as better in opposing corporate welfare.

    Given that it is Democrats who most ardently propose even more state-mandated central planning in the health care industry, it is hard to see why Democrats should be seen as better in regards to overall spending.

  49. Beyond the unconstitutional nature of the Federal Government mandating drunk driving laws (actually, I’d support almost any party, no matter the other planks in it’s platform, as long as it adhered to federalist limits on national government), the .08 BAC is just plain dumb, in that it consumes finite resources by attempting to alter or punish the behavior of people who do not statistically pose much more of a deadly threat than sober geezers and tailgaters. Meanwhile, the true deadly threats, the boozers careening around with BAC of .15 or higher, have less resources devoted to changing or punishing their behavior.

    I don’t know – yearly drunk driving fatalities have decreased quite a bit since the 1980’s. So it’s not as though the lower legal BAC isn’t doing a lot of good.

  50. Sam Franklin-

    I don’t know if I missed the joke here, but Ken Lay is not in hiding. Unless by “hiding”, you mean “lying motionless in a box six feet under the ground forever”.

  51. Corn subsidies aren’t “property”, they are the forcible redistribution of wealth by the government. You and your hippie buddies are wrong, Sam.

    They meet the dictionary definition of property.

    Free markets do not mean anarchy. For presenting a straw argument

    What is your standard for a free market then? How do you determine when a market is free?

  52. I don’t know if I missed the joke here, but Ken Lay is not in hiding. Unless by “hiding”, you mean “lying motionless in a box six feet under the ground forever”.

    Well, I am sure that trial was doing his heart no good, if we have to go with the official version here.

  53. Given that it is Democrats who most ardently propose even more state-mandated central planning in the health care industry, it is hard to see why Democrats should be seen as better in regards to overall spending.

    Because military spending is huge and offsets the little stuff.

  54. Chicago, huh? Nothing uptight going on there…

    Steven, in deference to you, I do get that what when you refer to ‘uptight social’ issues you’re probably talking about red state crap where they’re out get teh ghay. My point is Democrats are not where I’m going to run as an alternative to Republican ‘prohibitionist’ attitudes.

  55. Yes, Dan, and the rooster caused the sun to rise this morning.

  56. You are suggesting that his death was faked and that he is alive and well somewhere. Is this based on any sort of evidence, or did you just make it up?

  57. Sam, you may wish to review how much money is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and what percentage of the population those programs provide benefits to, compared to the DOD budget, before calling universal health care “small stuff”.

  58. Yes, Dan, and the rooster caused the sun to rise this morning.

    Roosters? And all this time, I thought it was those human sacrifices by the Aztecs…

  59. They meet the dictionary definition of property.

    Please, Sam, give us the definition you are referring to.

    I see that Dan T. joins Sam in obtusely confusing libertarianism (which is minarchist) with anarchy.

  60. You are suggesting that his death was faked and that he is alive and well somewhere. Is this based on any sort of evidence, or did you just make it up?

    I did not make up the idea that Lay used a ringer and escaped. A lot of people thought of the idea at the same time because it was suggested by the circumstances with some force.

    I don’t think anybody on this thd (including me) can or should have much certainty about whether he is alive or dead. Could be either.

    That said, my reference to his escape was a joke in the sense that I was not attempting to convince anybody who believes he is dead that he is actually alive.

  61. 1913 Webster’s (def’n 2 was the one I had in mind):
    property
    n 1: any area set aside for a particular purpose; “who owns this
    place?”; “the president was concerned about the property
    across from the White House” [syn: place]
    2: something owned; any tangible possession that is owned by
    someone; “that hat is my property”; “he is a man of
    property”; [syn: belongings, holding, material
    possession]

  62. Sam, a lot of people think that circumstances strongly suggest that aliens crashed a flying saucer in Roswell, New Mexico.

  63. Sam in obtusely confusing libertarianism (which is minarchist) with anarchy.

    Not quite. I am confusing the concept of a “free market” with anarchy. And I am doing it on purpose. To make a point. the point being that there is no real definition of “free market” as that term is usually bandied about. I see it as an empty construct devoid of meaning.

    I think there are more regulated markets and less regulated markets, and it may make some sense to talk about freer markets and less-free markets (although even that kind of talk can get careless). But talking about a “free market” ignores the role of contract law, anti-slavery law and anti-indentured servitude law and amounts to hype.

  64. Sam, a lot of people think that circumstances strongly suggest that aliens crashed a flying saucer in Roswell, New Mexico.

    That one never seemed particularly probable to me. My favorite conspiracy theories are:

    1. Flight 93 was shot down.

    and

    2. McVeigh had accomplices.

    For a brief time I wondered if bombs had brought down the Twin Towers, but when I considered the fact that the wave of mutilation proceded from the crash floors downward, I decided that explosives were unlikely to cause that kind of tumble.

  65. Yes, Dan, and the rooster caused the sun to rise this morning.

    This is an excellent example of libertarian dogma…uh-huh, no way, it simply can’t be that any government initative does what it’s supposed to.

  66. For a brief time I wondered if bombs had brought down the Twin Towers, but when I considered the fact that the wave of mutilation proceded from the crash floors downward, I decided that explosives were unlikely to cause that kind of tumble.

    Mmmyeah, for me, it was two large airliners full of jet fuel crashing into them. But I’m prone to that “out of the box” thinking…

  67. If you guys find yourself responding to somebody who consistently provokes the “OMG! Did he really just say that?” response, maybe it’s time to ignore.

    I know, easier said than done, but still.

  68. provokes the “OMG! Did he really just say that?” response, maybe it’s time to ignore.

    Shh, this is just getting fun. Don’t be a buzzkill.

  69. Uh, no, Dan, it is the simple application of logic, namely that event A preceding event B does not establish that A caused B. Of course, such an exercise in critical “thinking” is usually the province of the dishonest and silly.

  70. I agree with you on one thing Sam. If the government thinks a portion of my income is its ‘property’, then yes, property is theft.

  71. In a true libertarian world, there would be no ownership of property, since by definition you owning a tract of land means that my liberty is limited since force can used against me to prevent me from standing on it.

    Dan T.,

    Except that libertarianism recognizes that one’s liberty is necessarily limited by the rights of others. Where libertarianism differs with statist POV’s is that it holds that the rights of others is the only limitation on freedom and that the rights of the individual are real and absolute and not subject to the whims of the majority or whoever else controls the government at the moment.

  72. Oh yeah:

    and

    3. the Berg tape is a fake (which is not to say Berg was not beheaded and is even not to say that his head was not cut off by anti-US forces).

    those are my big 3 conspiracy theories. Lay I could really give a c**p about.

  73. How about saying a free market is one where the laws of supply and demand set prices. That doesn’t mean the terms of contracts can’t be enforced by the court system.

    And ppssssstt … it’s the cars.

  74. How about saying a free market is one where the laws of supply and demand set prices.

    You mean one where nobody enjoys what an economist would call market power? Sam Franklin like that definition, of course, being “Mr. Antitrust Of The HnR Commenters,” but considers that under this definition: (i) markets that other people term as free generally are not; and (ii) this lack-of-market-power brand of freedom is best enforced by government law and injunction.

  75. Sam Franklin, tell Sam Franklin thanks for not spelling c**p in the 4:11pm post.

  76. Hillary! That reminds me:

    4. Ron Brown’s skull had a bullet hole.

  77. Uh, no, Dan, it is the simple application of logic, namely that event A preceding event B does not establish that A caused B. Of course, such an exercise in critical “thinking” is usually the province of the dishonest and silly.

    But using that “logic” you could never establish that anything caused anything. The government can’t win for losing in your mind.

    But that’s dogmatic thinking for you.

  78. @ Capt Holly:
    And not coincidentally, most traffic deaths and firearm homicides are drug- or alcohol-related.

    I know that that’s the conventional sidom but I knew that it wasn’t the case in MD (where I live) for motor vehicle accidents. I didn’t want to dispute your assertion without reference but check here
    http://www.yaerd.org/State-Drunk-Driving-Statistics.htm
    and you’ll that in 2002 it was only higher than 50% in a handful of states and only 41% overall.

    And, while there’s no doubt that alcohol inpairs one’s abilities to react, etc., the evidence seems to indicate taht it’s not the people whose BAL is in the 0.08 range who are causing accidents at all, let alone the fatal variety. Rather it’s the people who are blowing closer to 0.20 (the technical term, I believe, is shitfaced) Check this Balko post for more information about the how lowering the legally limiting BAL actually corresponds to higher proportion of drunk driving fatalities:
    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/116629.html

    I haven’t much interest in following the trail regarding you claim that gun accidents are linked to drug and alcohol use but my gut feeling is that it’s similarly exagerated.

    If we’re interested in eliminating the really big alcohol activity, we might need to consider getting rid of swimming pools and other aquatic activities.

  79. But using that “logic” you could never establish that anything caused anything.

    Uh, no, Dan, he’s just pointing out that correlation does not prove causation, which is a pretty important logical concept.

    To use his example, it is certainly possible to prove that the sunrise causes roosters to crow, but simply observing that the two tend to happen at the same time doesn’t get you there.

  80. Sam, I don’t see how a corn subsidy fits either of those definitions of property.

    It certainly isn’t:

    any area set aside for a particular purpose

    It also isn’t

    any tangible possession that is owned by
    someone; “that hat is my property”; “he is a man of property”; [syn: belongings, holding, material possession]

    if for no other reason than a corn subsidy isn’t tangible.

    Lemme give you a hint: a corn subsidy is, at most, an entitlement payment. Entitlement payments aren’t property.

  81. Dan, your grasp of logic is so tenuous as to make dialogue with you on the topic nearly impossible. As an effort to enlighten you, however, I will provide a contrasting example.

    I can pretty much prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the government program know as the Manhattan Project was a chief cause of the destruction of the city of Hiroshima in August 1945. I cannot, however, say with any degree of certainty that Federally mandated state laws relating to BAC limits is a chief cause of lower auto fatality rates, given so many other possible factors, such as safer cars, safer road design, better trauma care, an older driver population, a population which drinks less (which may be related to the population being older), among a myriad of other possible factors, which may or may not be working in concert. Thus, only the dishonest or the foolish looks at a trend relating to complex social behavior, and picks a preceding event, and says “Yep, that event caused that trend”.

    Got it?

  82. Does anyone know if democrats will be better on phone tapping issues?

    Bad.

    Phone tapping: a great way to keep an eye (and ear) on anti-abortion activists, militias, and people (Hate Groups(tm)) who might use the ‘n’ word to their friends during conversations in the trailer park.

  83. Entitlement payments aren’t property.

    Maybe not before they are actually paid, but once that money shows up in the bank account it is tangible for all relevant purposes. That is why banks have giant safes!

  84. So, Sam, your claim that corn subsidies are property boils down to nothing more than the claim that someone can own money.

    Thanks for playing!

  85. Thus, only the dishonest or the foolish looks at a trend relating to complex social behavior, and picks a preceding event, and says “Yep, that event caused that trend”.

    Will, shorten the above sentence to “I don’t subscribe to’Post Hoc, Ergo Proptor Hoc’ reasoning”. Just sayin’.

  86. if for no other reason than a corn subsidy isn’t tangible.

    o, yeah, and you don’t get to beat GOOGLE-hed at the pedantry game:

    Definition of property

    One textbook on property law states:
    When a layman is asked to define “property,” he is likely to say that “property” is something tangible “owned” by a natural person (or persons), a corporation, or a unit of government. But such a response is inaccurate from a lawyer’s viewpoint for at least two resasons: (1) it confuses “property” with the various subjects of “property,” and (2) it fails to recognize that even the subjects of property may be intangible.
    For a lawyer, “property” is not a “thing” at all, although “things” are the subject of property. Rather, as Jeremy Bentham asserted, property is a legally protected “expectation * * * of being able to draw such or such an advantage from the thing” in question [ . . . .][1]

    Black’s Law Dictionary (5th ed. 1979) states that “[i]n the strict legal sense, [property is] an aggregate of rights which are guaranteed and protected by the government” and that the term property “includes not only ownership and possession but also the right of use and enjoyment for lawful purposes.”

    By contrast, Barron’s Law Dictionary (2d ed. 1984) defines property as “one’s exclusive right to possess, use, and dispose of a thing” [ . . . ] “as well as the object, benefit, or prerogative which constitutes the subject matter of that right.”

  87. Damn am I late to the party. Well, ignoring several really sad posts struggling with Logic 301, economic definitions and basic political theory, I am baffled by this asinine Libertarian Democrat meme. Someone posted this link recently on another thread on likely political coalitions for libertarians, and it’s worth reading:

    http://libertyunbound.com/archive/2006_12/ramsey-conservatives.html

    Maybe it has something to do with age and/or demographics, but I just don’t get people who can ignore the statist, collectivist tendencies of Democrats, and basically the last century of Progressive politics and what it has given us in terms of a radical departure from constitutionally limited government. God knows the Republicans don’t have a proud history in recent times, and it didn’t take long to go off the rails a few years after ’94, but if you really believe in the underlying ideals of free markets and limited government, you couldn’t possibly go near the Democrats’ shit. This cognitive dissonance is painful. Given the dynamics we’re facing at the moment, at least on spending and government growth I’d say we’re best stuck with a Dem President and Republican Congress. At least that’s what the graphs tell me. Or maybe I should just start looking at offshore tax haven real estate.

  88. The Question, then is: “What is to be undone?”

  89. There are those “free markets” again.

    Rich libertarians want free markets(tm).

    Poor libertarians want competitive markets that operate according to the laws of supply and demand. For these libertarians, the only hopes seem to be Feingold and Spitzer and they are Ds.

    That is the part you are not getting.

  90. Mustafa, good article in the link. This was my absolute favorite quote:

    Apart from freedom of expression, the liberal’s idea of freedom is mainly about privacy. It is about a place for whoopee, and for not being held to account or morally judged afterward. In many ways his idea of freedom is the 15-year-old’s: Stay out of my room. Show me respect. And hey, when’s dinner?

  91. Yeah Paul, that was a great quote. I’m thinking arrested political development, haha.

    Sam, you’re confusing free market with perfect competition and perfect knowledge. For Christ’s sakes, just go to Wikipedia. Government intervention is limited to preventing initiation of force and fraud and enforcement of contracts. Not “anarchist market,” where he with all the guns gets the gold.

    And Spitzer’s a corrupt media whore who wouldn’t know a free market if it bit him in the ass. Mister “trial on the courthouse steps.” Yeah, Spitzer’s a real libertarian hero.

  92. Government intervention is limited to preventing initiation of force and fraud and enforcement of contracts.

    No, its not. The private sector didn’t write contract law, the private sector doesn’t adjudicate contract law and the private sector aren’t the ones who show up at the fambly farmstead with guns when the bank comes to foreclose. Even arbitrations generally refer to the contract law of some jurisdiction and rely, ultimately, on government enforcement of the decrees of the arbitrator.

    You’ve got money for brains.

  93. Not to mention the fact that most contract disputes involve corporations, which parties owe their very existence to the government. It is nice for rich people to be limited in liability when their investments end up somehow infringing the rights of others, but that freedom for the rich (as a class) comes at an expense of the poor (as a class).

    A poor libertarian would argue that this lost freedom is important and that the best way to make markets freer would be to stop allowing liability for infringements on the rights of individuals to be limited through the use of corporations. And, of course, the horrified response of the rich libertarian would be: “Gasp! that is not what I meant by free markets.” When I say that the term free markets is an empty construct, this is exactly the kind of cluelessness I am referring to.

  94. Getting rid of the bankruptcy laws for corporations would also make the markets freer of government regulation.

    Would that be a free market ™ move, though?

  95. Can there be a libertarian democrat? Not only no, but FUCK NO! We’re going to get more legislation like guns near schools, hate crimes, public health initiatives on personal behaviour e.g. smoking, drinking, food (while whining, IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN). We will see no letup on the WoD (while whining louder, IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN!). No movement on eminent domain abuse.
    Sad to say, but the republicans had there chance to govern responsibly and dropped the ball, blew it, fucked up, however you want to describe it.
    Being in a pessimistic mood right now, I don’t think the prez has the cajones to veto anything that doesn’t involve his “Culture of Life”. This could get ugly quick.

  96. Money for brains, eh? As opposed to a head full of really bad, unworkable theory? Your class warfare approach to libertarianism is a real winner, good luck selling that here. The examples you gave in your first post don’t really prove any point, of course the government writes, adjudicates AND enforces the laws, I thought that was implicit in my comment on contracts. I’m not a lawyer, but am familiar enough with the concept of limited liability to know that without it investment and entrepreneurial risk taking would grind to a screeching halt. Punishing thousands of shareholders and employees for the actions of a few seems like a pretty stupid idea in my book, look what happened to Arthur Andersen and imagine what would happen without limited liability. Individuals still face full liability for legal violations committed while in the employ of a corporation. I think you lost me at the horrors of evil corporations infringing the rights of individuals and all your illustrative examples. Those rights-infringing capitalist bastards, thank God for zealous state AGs, class action lawyers and Naderites to protect us. But back to the subject, I’m not seeing this irreconcilable clash between corporate law and free markets that you do. I’m not going to dismiss the difficulties of issues like externalities and natural monopolies, but the vast majority of the time I go with the axiom that the lesser the regulation and the simpler the laws, the better. Not an absence of laws.

  97. Dear Sam and Dan,
    I know we have only been together for just a couple of weeks but I just don’t think our relationship is going to work. I know we have some things in common – I love getting high with you and the sex is great – but these are not things to build a relationship on.

    Thanks for the good times, but it’s time for me to move on.

    Schempf

  98. And on the subject of this original post (might as well before someone beats me to it or I have to make the rebuttal), a lot of people have already made the case better than I could about how increasing the size and scope of government leads to more opportunities for corporate abuses, not fewer. Cato Unbound did an excellent job with that topic.

  99. And this thread shows exactly why so-called Libertarians aren’t going to win more than a miniscule part of the voters.

    Heck, all this squabbling and you still haven’t managed to say what Libertarianism IS!

    And by the way, our new Senator from Montana (Democrat) has been making rumbling noises about getting rid of the PATRIOT Act. Now if that isn’t a libertarian stance, nothing in.

  100. It’s been 8 days and the Dems haven’t made any progress in ending the war, repealing the Patriot Act, abolishing the Dept of Homeland Security, or restoring the Bill of Rights.

    Okay, I admit that I swiped the above from here where you can download a counter for your website to mark the non-progress of the Democrats.

  101. o, yeah, and you don’t get to beat GOOGLE-hed at the pedantry game:

    Hey, Sam, I’m just using the definitions you gave me. Trust me, I know good and well that most property is intangible.

    Black’s Law Dictionary (5th ed. 1979) states that “[i]n the strict legal sense, [property is] an aggregate of rights which are guaranteed and protected by the government” and that the term property “includes not only ownership and possession but also the right of use and enjoyment for lawful purposes.”

    Your corn subsidy isn’t “property” under this definition because it is not “guaranteed and protected by the government”, it is something that is at the whim of the government, to be given or not.

    One characteristic of property is that it can be transferred. You can’t transfer your corn subsidy to anyone. You can sell the farm which allows you to apply for the subsidy, but that isn’t the same thing at all.

  102. The private sector didn’t write contract law, the private sector doesn’t adjudicate contract law and the private sector aren’t the ones who show up at the fambly farmstead with guns when the bank comes to foreclose. Even arbitrations generally refer to the contract law of some jurisdiction and rely, ultimately, on government enforcement of the decrees of the arbitrator.

    Contract law and enforcement is all quite consistent with minarchy, and “free markets” as all but the most obtuse understand the term. They aren’t consistent with anarchy, but that’s OK, because libertarianism isn’t anarchism.

  103. R C, you are illustrating for us that “Sam” exhibits a key feature of a troll:

    Whatever profession a troll might practice or claim to practice, somebody else from that profession can always kick the troll’s ass on matters of professional knowledge.

  104. Grumpy Realist-

    In all fairness, the Democrats have spent years now not saying what a Democrat IS (besides someone who is against Republicans), and that didn’t stop them from being elected.

  105. Here’s a libertarian idea the Dems could get behind: repeal Jimmy Carter’s reintroduction of Selective Service registration, just like Ronald Reagan promised, but failed to do. I’d like to see GWB try to veto that!

    Kevin

  106. “free markets” as all but the most obtuse understand the term. They aren’t consistent with anarchy

    The question I posed to you was how do you understand the term, RCD. Although you haven’t really answered, other than saying “just don’t be obtuse,” I believe and know that your standard of free markets means, freer for the investing class. To me, that is a crabbed and artificial version of freedom, and why I think “freemarkets” is such a p.r. / weasel term.

    I would like to make my position on the Democratic Party clear. I have never been a Democrat. Until 2003, I never voted Democrat, at least not in any major race.

    I share your suspicions that the Democratic Party will do a stinky job ruling and will try to take away guns, raise taxes, fail to cut the budget, ban pornography on the World Wide Web, continue the drug war, do more Wacos, etc., etc.

    What my posts are supposed to show is that there are plenty of ways for the government to make markets freer that do not involve pandering to the investor class with the tax structure and guarding their freedom to consolidate as the highest and best of economic rights. I thought that poster really nailed it when she or he said that a truly free market is one where nobody has the power to set prices. We are way far away from that lovely dream in 2006 America. We were closer in 1890.

    That is what Libertarian Democrats should be about (well that and putting the ol’ night watchman on a crash diet), rather than what you guys think they will do and what they probably will do. Still I am reserving judgement until they actually do something.

  107. Oh, and whoever said “class warfare” — what a lousy metaphor. War on drugs, war on obesity, war on Iraq, war on terrorism — enough with the wars.

    The struggle between the economic classes is a struggle, not a war. Nobody is actually dying except those people in New Orleans with no cars, and that was really more an act of nature. No need to turn the class struggle into one of those Israel versus Palestine type disputes.

  108. Oh, yeah: along with the 500,000 troop authorization should come a Congressional timetable. One that ends the occupation for good and all on election day 2008. Should be doable with half a million ablebodied Americans!

  109. Whoops, that last comment was intended for DAR’s blog. Sorry about the confusion I caused there.

  110. …(6) military spending–advantage Dems; (7) a rational, moral approach to science and scientific research–advantage Dems; (8) corporate welfare–slight advantage Dems; (9) trade–actual Dem pols seem open to market solutions in many areas (Libertarians are never gonna get everything they want here); (10) drug war–slight advantage Dems; (11) willingness to consider the United States a part of an international community–advantage Dems; (12) abortion–advantage Dems; (13) torture–advantage Dems

    (14) immigration law–Dems by a mile; (15) Patriot Act–Dems; (15) avoiding police state–Dems a bit better.

    Those of you who think the LP should go with the GOP: how’s that working out for ya?

    It seems to be a common assumption among those who think the idea of a “Democrat Libertarian” is nonsense that the Democratic Party would undergo no changes were the LP to become its ally. This seems to be an error.

  111. It seems to be a common assumption among those who think the idea of a “Democrat Libertarian” is nonsense that the Democratic Party would undergo no changes were the LP to become its ally. This seems to be an error.

    I think the key to having power in our system is to be a “swing voter”, meaning you’re willing to be wooed by either party but are not in the hip pocket of either. I’m not sure where your “become an ally” would fit into that. Either way, one must increase one’s own numbers to increase one’s sway.

  112. Free markets are an economic zone where willing buyers and willing sellers can reach agreement on the exchange of goods and services.

    Any exchange of goods and services presupposes that the buyer and seller have property or ownership rights in what they are exchanging. To the extent that a government is necessary for the creation and maintenance of property rights, a government is not inconsistent with a free market, it is a necessity.

    Similarly, commitments to exchange goods and services need to be enforcable. To the extent a government is necessary for the enforceability of contracts, then a government is not inconsistent with a free market, it is a necessity.

  113. I think the key to having power in our system is to be a “swing voter”, meaning you’re willing to be wooed by either party but are not in the hip pocket of either. I’m not sure where your “become an ally” would fit into that.

    I am open to the approach you mention. I would just like to see Libertarians do more with the Dems. If the LP could move the Dems more towards a “live and let live” philosophy, I could live with the social spending and (slightly) higher taxes.

  114. And this thread shows exactly why so-called Libertarians aren’t going to win more than a miniscule part of the voters.

    Heck, all this squabbling and you still haven’t managed to say what Libertarianism IS!

    This is a libertarian magazine’s site. It’s not necessary to preface every single post or comment with an explanation of libertarianism. Nor is the topic “what is libertarianism and how do we explain it?”

  115. Free markets are an economic zone where willing buyers and willing sellers can reach agreement on the exchange of goods and services.

    Oh, like China or Sweden or Zimbabwe. I get it. What a thin definition.

  116. Have no liberal sites linked this post, yet? Shouldn’t we have a flood of angry liberals ranting about how “For a magazine called Reason“, we lack the good sense to share their political outlook?

  117. Why do you all only choose Ron Paul as an example of a libertarian Republican? Why view him as a “fluke”? Have you never heard of Jeff Flake? Butch Otter who was recently featured in Reason Magazine?

    How about all the libertarian Republican state legislators nationwide?

    As far as I can tell there are 1, maybe 2 elected “libertarian Democrats” in the entire United States; Mike Bozarth to a Town Council in the St. Louis suburbs and rumors of a libertarian-leaning legislator in New Hampshire.

    Now, compare that to the List of elected libertarians who run under the Republican label.

    Something like 1000 to 1. (You can see them at http://www.rlc.org or http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com).

    While libertarian Republicans are certainly happy to have Ron Paul within our ranks, he’s simply the tip of the iceburg.

    Eric Dondero, Fmr. Senior Staffer
    US Congressman Ron Paul of Texas

  118. Examples of Democrats support for civil liberties:

    For Politically Correct Speech
    For Seat Belt Laws
    For restrictive Speed Limits
    For confiscation of Guns
    For abolishing choice in Education
    Against repeal of Affirmative Action laws
    For Smoking bans
    For Drinking Age Laws
    For the Military Draft alaCharlie Rangel
    For cameras in downtown cities spying on citizens
    For restrictive laws against gambling and prostitution to protect Health
    For restricting speech of conservatives and libertarians on talk radio
    For voter fraud which benefits the Democrat Party

    Is there anything left?

  119. Is there anything left?

    Against the Patriot Act
    Against torture of terror suspects
    Against the draft (like most people, Rangel notwithstanding)
    Against the police state

    These things strike me as more important than smoking bans (is it your civil “right” to envelop others in smoke?); speed limits (my civil rights end where my behavior presents a serious threat to the well-being of others); seat belt laws (I don’t like ’em, but the GOP likes them as much as the Dems); affirmative action law (which seems to have a libertarian basis anyway); the drinking age (an annoying law, but nothing compared to defendants not being able to see the evidence against them); cameras in the public square (the GOP won’t remove them either); and PC speech (a problem, but an overblown one).

    GOP = a slightly smaller, but fascist-leaning government. Huge military budgets. Cartoon-world weapons systems that cost billions. Any criticism is ignored or is met with one’s patriotism questioned. Lower taxes, especially if you are rich.

    Dems = annoying nanny state approach on many issues, but less overall harm is likely to befall us and other countries. Less likely to engage in ideological isolationism. Higher taxes.

  120. Ethan,

    How does affirmative action law have a libertarian basis??

    Private decisions that mimick affirmative action would be legal under libertarian law because all decisions on who to discriminate against or for would be left up to freely contracting individuals and businesses. And technically speaking, affirmative action is no greater an offense to libertarian principles than any other interference in the act of hiring employees. But I don’t see how affirmative action law can be said to have any basis in libertarianism!

  121. Hi Fyodor,

    How does affirmative action law have a libertarian basis??

    I didn’t mean to imply that affirmative action has only a libertarian basis. Affirmative action can be, and is, defended from many perspectives, including a libertarian one. For one example, type “Andrew Valls libertarian defense affirmative action” into a search engine. Also, a review of a book providing a libertarian defense of affirmative action appeared in reason mag a while back.

  122. Sorry Ethan, but if my government is torturing terrorists to gain information on upcomming terror plots against the United States, I’m 110% in favor of it.

    And seat belt laws AFFECT MY DAILY LIFE. I could care less about arcane so-called “liberties” as you mention. Drinking age laws, speed limits, affirmative action laws ect… are far more relevent to me and to mainstream America.

    Torture of Muslim Terrorists who want to kill Americans? It should be as brutal and merciless as is humanly possible.

  123. Hmm, Ethan mentions the Patriot Act. Sure there was some bad in it, but overall it was good legislation.

    Better to take the offense against Islamo-Fascism rather than let them run roughshod over our nation cause we’re a bunch of wussies.

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