In Your Heart, You Know the Right Hates Him

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Reasonoid-made-good Matt Welch wonders, over at an LA Times blog, what role Barry Goldwater would have had in today's GOP. He was a libertarian; the modern GOP isn't running thick with libertarians. So, no; not much of a role in the party, certainly not a presidential nomination.

That's all a jumping-off point for Welch's reasons why a "Liberaltarian" voter bloc is more or less a pipe dream.

1) There's rarely such a thing as a libertarian in local politics (where most politics are practiced), because it's awful hard to grant favors (or jobs) to either labor or business while cutting the size of government.

Tell that to Norm "Firecracker" Westwell! Still, basically true.

2) Self-described libertarians over the age of 40 who don't belong to the Libertarian Party (which is to say, most of them) are overwhelmingly likely to consider the GOP their default home, because of taxes, the memory of anti-communism, and hatred of all things McGovern/Carter (even though Carter was arguably the greatest deregulation president … though that's a rambling essay for another time).

Also true, but not the strongest argument against a growing libertarian-Democrat alliance or free-floating Democratic bloc. According to Pew, Boaz et al, there are more libertarians under 40 than over 40, and that ratio is only going to get worse for the oldsters unless Glenn Reynolds discovers the nanotech equivilent Philosopher's Stone. (He probably considers this more likely than I do.)

And in the partisan era these libertarians were born into, they watched a pork-crazed Republican Congress and a disastrous Republican presidency drastically expand the government left by sleazy but basically pragmatic Democrat—expanding it into abortion clinics, church charities, elementary schools, and of course Iraq.

3) Libertarianism just ain't that popular to begin with.

Ah, and here we go. Absolutely the full set of libertarian virtues and beliefs isn't popular, and will never achieve mass popularity. I don't think Liberaltarians (or libertarians who recently voted for Democrats, like me) expect that to fundamentally change. The way I read Lindsey's original article, I assumed we were talking about libertarians trading the battered wife status they have in the GOP with a unloved but respected wife status in the Democratic Party. We'll get a little movement on some of our issues, but more importantly we'll get swing status. Two parties that need Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and the rest of the West to win the presidency will naturally have to consider libertarian ideas in a way they never had to when 1)libertarians were locked into the GOP coalition and 2)the West was less populous.

That might be a pipe dream, but it's a reasonably optimistic possibility that doesn't depend on libertarian ideas becoming drastically more popular than they are.

NEXT: The Lost Seinfeld Episode

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  1. If libertarians were a monolithic voting bloc (you know, like “blacks” or “soccer moms” *sarcasm*) then this might apply. Strangely, though, I have a feeling that most libertarians are not the type to take marching orders from above on which party to toss their votes too, no matter how hard certain Democrat shills on the reason staff wish it.

  2. Strangely, though, I have a feeling that most libertarians are not the type to take marching orders from above on which party to toss their votes too, no matter how hard certain Democrat shills on the reason staff wish it.

    Being soured on the way Republicans have governed doesn’t necessarily make one a “Democrat shill”.

  3. It’s pretty simplistic to boil local politics down to the dispensation of favors. Yes, local governments do some crazy bad shit; they also do some crazy not-so-bad shit. The state and federal bureaucracties homogenize government. Local governments, however, can go tear-assing in strange directions… and it’s not just about selling favors for votes.

    Many local government political races are nonpartisan… so people don’t have the intellectual wheelchair of a straight party vote. Sure, in some cases these are local beauty contests… but you do have some de facto libertarians sitting in office in local governments. They just don’t have the “L” label.

    As to Welch’s third point… people like libertarian ideas much better than they like libertarians (which admittedly may not be saying much). To borrow the quip from Edward the Longshanks in Braveheart, the problem with the libertarian party is that it’s full of libertarians.

  4. David,
    I’m soured on the was Republicans have governed as well, as is pretty much every person who visits this board (trolls and outright conservative nutjobs excluded). That doesn’t mean I hang from the nutsacks of Democrats and constantly post about some mythological liberaltarian/libertarian Democrat creature that may exist on an individual level but wil never be a majority of libertarian-leaning voters.

    And I think that when certain people spend an excess amount of time writing about how the Democrats are going to shit rainbows and fart pixie dust then they to my eyes look like a shill.

  5. JF – This nutsack-obsessed pundit you’re talking about sounds like a piece of work. Do I know him?

  6. The problem with utopian pipe dreams is that they have a nasty tendency to devolve into paranoid conspiracy theories. It’s probably a good thing for libertarians to remain a movement outside party structures. Libertarian goals should be pragmatic, modest, and realistic. Libertarian looniness will get us nowhere.

  7. Dave,

    You said,

    Two parties that need Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and the rest of the West to win the presidency will naturally have to consider libertarian ideas in a way they never had to when 1)libertarians were locked into the GOP coalition and 2)the West was less populous.

    The problem with that statement is states like Colorado have become have become less liberatarian as their population increases.

    The libertarians over 40 have seen the democrats in action. The libertarians under 40 are now going to get the same chance. Seeing the democrats in action will quickly bury the idea of a libertarian democrat alliance.

  8. David W.

    Could you please point me to some of your writings where you have actually been critical of Democrats? I can’t seem to remember seeing any at any of the places I’ve read your work.

    Note: ripping Joe Lieberman obviously doesn’t count, nor does William Jefferson. That’s like some Republican hack saying “that Tom Delay has to go!” and using that to claim he’s not a Republican hack.

  9. The libertarians over 40 have seen the democrats in action. The libertarians under 40 are now going to get the same chance. Seeing the democrats in action will quickly bury the idea of a libertarian democrat alliance.

    That about says it all, right there. We libertarians have an amusing tendency to romanticize the party out of power.

  10. “That doesn’t mean I hang from the nutsacks of Democrats and constantly post about some mythological liberaltarian/libertarian Democrat creature that may exist on an individual level but wil never be a majority of libertarian-leaning voters.”

    I really get a kick out of the fact that, when there happens to be a Reason contributor that doesn’t share the standard vitriolic hatred for the Democratic party that most libertarians do, and/or doesn’t live up to the “bash the democrats from all sides on all issues!” standards of certain commenters, he/she is therefore seen as “hanging from the democrats’ nutsack”.

    Sometimes the jackbootedness of politics extends full-force into our world, and folks like JF and John, with their “Weigel is a Democratic shill!” whining every time David so much as mentioned democrats in a better-than-shitty light, are prime evidence of this sad fact. Only someone clouded by their preconceived notions of the author’s allegiances would be able to construe the aforementioned blog entry as “swinging from the democrats’ nutsack”.

    “And I think that when certain people spend an excess amount of time writing about how the Democrats are going to shit rainbows and fart pixie dust then they to my eyes look like a shill.”

    Now, now, I thought that David Weigel’s piece, Democrats To Introduce Legislation to Provide Federal Funding for Rainbow-Shitting and Pixie-Dust-Farting Research” was a pretty Fair and Balanced? take on the whole rainbow shitting and pixie dust farting issue.

    God damn, you really are a retard.

  11. jf, I’m not sure where all this criticism towards Democrats should come from. They’ve been out of power for six years and have only had the ability to look totally ineffectual. They have to start fucking up in an active rather than passive capacity for something to be worth saying about them.

  12. That about says it all, right there. We libertarians have an amusing tendency to romanticize the party out of power.

    That’s because the out of power party suddenly concludes that the best way to limit the power of their political opponents is to limit the power of government. Sadly, this epiphany is forgotten when they regain power.

  13. Here is something I posted nearly one year ago. It’s as good as I get so worthy of a reposting:
    Re: Mythological status of the Libertarian Democrat.

    comment at 10:41am
    [David Attenborough Voice] Finding themselves so utterly out of power, some Democrats are beginning to spew libertarian rhetoric out of desperation. Thus the Libertarian Democrat is less of a myth than the Libertarian Republican which has been extinct, save a handful of infertile specimens, since 1996. What is curious, is how many continue to speak of the Libertarian Republican as though it yet thrived and might be encountered outside the laboratory.

    Forensic science has now revealed is that the Libertarian traits once found in Republicans, were not genetic markings, but merely affectations applied for display proposes when attempting to woo power. Once successfully mated with power, the Libertarian rhetoric having served its purpose, has been discarded.

    Returning our attention to the appearance of a seemingly novel breed, the Libertarian Democrat, we may reasonably conclude that this too is not a true breed. More likely, the Democrats have picked up the discarded Libertarian decoration which served their rivals when the situation was reversed. In the event that the Democrats can woo power back away from the Republicans we can expect that they will be equally eager to rid themselves of the uncomfortable and restricting Libertarian cloth.

    Never the less, there is a small but thriving population of pure Libertarians which makes their home deep in the foliage of the Lunatic Fringe. It is not uncommon for members of this tribe to leave the safety of the Fringe and seek out mates from amongst the sheeple. Thus, genuine half-breed Libertarian-Democrats, and Libertarian-Republicans do exist and are regularly replenished. However, they are continually swallowed up by faux-Libertarians and therefore unable to establish themselves as a true and viable breed within the species poloticius.

  14. Nutsacks notwithstanding, I think John F Kennedy would be “too libertarian” to win a Republican primary in 2008. So where does that put Goldwater?

    ——-

    In Other News:

    “Christian outrage at Cheney’s lesbian pregnancy”

  15. FinFangFoom,

    I can agree with you to a point. I can think of plenty of things that Democrats, even though out of power, should be rightly criticized for, including but not limited to:

    Failing to use to power of the filibuster against the President’s Supreme Court nominees (“Gang of 14” be damned).
    Almost unanimously voting for the PATRIOT ACT in one of the most cowardly moves a minority party has ever made.
    Rolling over on the vote for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq.
    Not doing any better than putting a bland cypher like John Kerry as the face of the party against an unpopular incumbent.

    None of this is about demonizing the Democrats, but it is holding them to task for not doing their fucking jobs for the past 6 years. And how does the country reward them for not even trying to be an effective minority party? By making them the majority party!

    Here’s to hoping that the Republicans can at least act like a minority power should (at least if that party has any principles, which I know are lacking in both parties).

  16. A lot of libertarian ideas (drug legalization to name one) are out of the mainstream. Doesn’t mean they are not correct, but being correct doesn’t change the fact that they are out of the mainstream. Since both parties try to build a majority, they are equally bad on a lot of issues. I have yet to see a major figure in either party come out against the drug war and I don’t see one iota of difference between the Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II administrations in its prosecution. Although the Republicans sometimes mouth commitment to small government, the past ten years has shown either party will spend like made to pay off its supporters given the opportunity. Further, even when the Republicans do show some commitment to small government they are pretty easily cowed by the Democrats and the partisan media.

    The biggest bitch among Reason readers with the Republicans is foreign policy and anti-terrorist measures. Regardless of the merits of the arguments, how much of that is the Democrats playing Libertarians for chumps? Clinton, intervened in Bosnia and Kosovo. Now that the Democrats control Congress, I don’t see any serious movement to force the U.S. out of Iraq or repeal any of the provisions of the Patriot Act Libertarians find so objectionable. In addition, the Patriot Act passed Congress nearly unanimously. It is kind of hard to believe that we wouldn’t have the same thing after 9-11 regardless of which party was in charge. Had Al Gore been President after 9-11, we most certainly would have still gone into Afghanistan and gotten the Patriot Act. We probably wouldn’t have gone into Iraq, but who is to say that we wouldn’t have gone somewhere else like back to Somalia or Darfur. The point is that regardless of your opinion of Iraq, I don’t think you can make the case that the Democrats are any less interventionist than the Republicans.

    But, there are differences between the two parties that should matter to Libertarians. First, the Democrats are absolutely beholden to the unions. This should be loathsome to libertarians. Is there a bigger rent seeking anti-market force in America than unions? Second, Democrats are much less likely to support free trade than Republicans. True, there are free trade Democrats and protectionist Republicans, but the majority of Democrats are protectionist and the majority of Republicans are free traders. Third, the Democrats are much more anti-property rights than Republicans. The radical Greens wield a lot of influence over the Democratic Party. If you are in anyway concerned about regulatory takings, the Democrats can be a very objectionable party. Fourth, the Democrats are much more likely to support nanny-state regulations and prohibition through litigation of socially objectionable products. The Democrats have given us the tobacco lawsuits, the failed suits against gun manufacturers, the new war on fat food just to name three.

    The one big difference between the two parties that cuts for the Democrats from a libertarian perspective is the religion factor. Republicans are much more likely to be religious and be moralistic about things like sex and porn and marriage. That is huge factor. Of course, I wouldn’t discount the possibility of Democrats playing to the evangelicals more in the future. That is a lot of votes to be had and it is not that hard to tell them that Jesus would want them to pay more taxes and support more government social welfare programs.

    Which party is better really comes down to what pisses you off more. I generally find the bible thumpers to be an annoying nuisance. I get pissed off about people trying to determine what I can eat and what I can say and what I can own, so I vote Republican. If you are more pissed off about gay-marriage, then you vote Democrat.

  17. Damn! I really wanted to read Weigel’s piece about shitting rainbows.

  18. Damn! I really wanted to read Weigel’s piece about shitting rainbows.

    If remember right, it was a glowing endorsement of the Federal Skittles Entitlement Act authored by Harry Reid.

  19. Is there a bigger rent seeking anti-market force in America than unions?

    Yes. I’d call one “Fortune 1000 companies.” Another I’d call “farmers” (who are really just corporations with better marketing). I’m not a fan of unions, but look at the damn tax code, the protectionist lobbying and the outright competition-stifling collusion between big government and big business.

  20. Yes. I’d call one “Fortune 1000 companies.” Another I’d call “farmers” (who are really just corporations with better marketing).

    Fair point. Both parties kiss the farmers’ ass. I don’t see anyone objecting much to the quadrinal ag bill giveaway. The fortune 500 certainly play both parties for favors. Whether it be steal makers wanting trade protection or Sun wanting to stick it to microsoft using the Clinton Justice Department. I would say both of those groups are a wash whereas Unions are clearly a Democratic evil.

  21. John,
    Very well said. High taxes piss me off more than anything else, so the GOP gets my vote almost every time. I don’t consider myself a Libertarian, though.
    I’m basically a Republican with a strong disdain for religion. However, the religion for which I have the strongest disdain is Islam, and the GOP is the more anti-Islam of the two parties.

  22. NAL,

    You go boy. Way to stick it to them dirty towelheads.

  23. “I’m not a fan of unions, but look at the damn tax code, the protectionist lobbying and the outright competition-stifling collusion between big government and big business.”

    Observe closely as I slowly swing my pocket watch to and fro; repeat after me: “Level playing field, level playing field.”

    Now do you understand? You feel better now, don’t you? You feel relaxed and refreshed. Later, you will write a check for ten million dolars to the Republican National Committee….

  24. This disagreement has played out here before, but I still don’t get why so many libertarians consider the Repubs to be their party. The party was far away from Goldwater the first election I voted in (I found libertarianism when I was 17 and I turned 18 in 1991). Reagan had already sold the party to the religious right. Have the Dems ever appealed to me? No. My choices have always been for the Libertarian candidate or, in a close race where one candidate was truly repulsive, the one who sickened me less. Many commenters here seem to retain an allegiance to Dems or Repubs. Why?

  25. I am old enough to remember Goldwater’s candidacy…he didn’t impress me then, or since.

    What enthusiasm he generated among Republicans was largely owing to his hawkish foreign policy rhetoric (pre-Vietnam) and resistence to civil rights (he was the original “Southern Strategy” candidate…running poorly everywhere BUT the South).

    His economic Libertarian musings were a drag on his candidacy, and his socially liberal views were a secret (in his campaign book he feigned piety).

    After receiving one of the worst rebuffs from the public of any Republican candidates ever, he spent the rest of his career as an irrelevant Senator.

    The sense in which the Goldwater candidacy launched the modern conservative movement largely boils down to the story of how it launched the political career of Ronald Reagan. Reagan WAS the movement from 64 to 80.

    HERE’s an interesting question. Could RWR be the candidate of “under-40” Libertarians, if he were alive and in fighting trim today? Likely not, because he was a pro-lifer and doubtless would have opposed same-sex marriage.

    What really puzzles me is why many self-described Libertarians are so strict, dogmatic and intolerant of GOP politicians who ARE genuine economic conservatives, if they happen to be social conservatives also… or even in the case – as with Giuliani – when they’re not.

    But you will hear the “Libertarians For Blah-Blah” case made for Democratic politicos who are straight-ahead tax-spenders, protectionists and nativists…even whe the same politicos are foreighn policy hawks, indifferent to civil liberties issues, and apt to run to the Center on every controversial social issue.

    The answer I suspect, is that the rank and file Libertarians-under-40 are so emotionally invested in the Blue State culture, that they see virtues in Democrats that just aren’t there…and not-so-Under-40 pundits in the libertarian media see opportunities in the Blue-State media which are there.

  26. andy,
    The words “dirty towelheads” were yours. I’ve studied Islam enough to know it’s NOT a peaceful religion.
    “Any peaceful Muslims are peaceful despite Islam, not because of it.” -Walid Shoebat an ex-Muslim terrorist

  27. jf, I’m not sure where all this criticism towards Democrats should come from. They’ve been out of power for six years and have only had the ability to look totally ineffectual. They have to start fucking up in an active rather than passive capacity for something to be worth saying about them.

    Two words: Gun Control.

    If there’s a single issue that will piss us Western libertarians off, it’s gun control. And many local Democrats in places like Colorado are already proposing California-style gun bans.

    The brief Libertarian affair with the Democrats will end in about three months, right after Pelosi et al introduce the Assault Weapons ban renewal.

  28. I’ve studied Islam enough to know it’s NOT a peaceful religion.

    NAL, give it a rest. I’ve read the Qur’an and prayed with Muslims. I’ve read the Bible and prayed with Christians. People are people.

  29. Just an add, neither political party really wants the libertarians. No, sir, libertarians are a pain in the ass. What they want are the growing block of independents… some of whom have a few modest libertarian leanings. The problem for Republicans is the evangelical, Christian fundamentalist shtick alienates the Hell out of these independent voters. So does the spend like drunken sailors on things like Medicare… and the recurrent corruption. The only advantage for Democrats is that these independent voters have had a decade or so to forget that Democrats can be equally repugnant.

  30. “The answer I suspect, is that the rank and file Libertarians-under-40 are so emotionally invested in the Blue State culture, that they see virtues in Democrats that just aren’t there…and not-so-Under-40 pundits in the libertarian media see opportunities in the Blue-State media which are there.”

    That pretty much hits the nail on the head. Look no further than the Reason’s staff’s love affair with the Democrats as evidence. The staff is based in Washington and New York and is culturally much more attuned to the Democrats culturally than Republicans. Ultimately, Republicans just are not cool enough for them, so are much more willing to forgive the Democrats than they are the Republicans. I really think it is that shallow. Yeah, the Democrat who lives next door to me in Washington may want seize 50% of my income, socialize medicine and take away my cigs, but he listens to all the right music and goes to all the right parties as opposed to the Republican from Birmingham who listens to the Oak Ridge Boys and eats at Olive Garden with his wife and three and a half children once a week.

  31. David,
    I’m glad to see a post nay-saying the “libertarians will never…” mantra. I like your tone even if I can’t fully join you.

    I wholeheartedly agree that neither the two major parties will ever be friends of freedom. But I do believe we can win the hearts and minds of the people. I think the first Libertarian to win a significant election (perhaps governor ala Jesse or even Arnold) will be the dawn of a new age in American politics.

    Now just give me a few minutes with my dreams.

  32. Reasonoid-made-good Matt Welch wonders,

    I think a better term would be “traitor” or two face or money grubbing glam boy….anyway Matt, if you are reading this…we miss ya. 🙂

  33. People are people.

    That’s what the Bush Administration thought too…and look how well that’s turning out.

  34. Oh, please. Name a single politician from either major party who under-40 libertarians think is “cool.” Speaking as an under-40 lib myself, I can’t think of a one who isn’t a complete jackass. In general, people don’t just grow up libertarian. It’s something you arrive at after a lot of thought about how useless the representatives of the party you DID grow up with are, and why that is given their politics. You become a libertarian because you CARE (not that there aren’t a lot of repubs and dems who don’t care, but the majority of them vote their way without putting much thought into the matter.) MTV may be able to motivate a bunch of top-40 drones to go vote democrat, but libertarians are not going to vote for any ol’ politician based on whether he likes the Sex Pistols or not.

  35. Two words: Gun Control.

    Two more words: Tax Hikes. Dems are already talking about massive tax increases to “save Social Security.”

    Lemme try two more: Socialized Medicine. Hillarycare is back, baby!

    Ok, just two more: Free Trade. As in, not gonna get any more of that with the Dems in power.

  36. Aren’t both sides big in the protectionism game?

  37. That was posted by me. Oops!

  38. The words “dirty towelheads” were yours. I’ve studied Islam enough to know it’s NOT a peaceful religion.

    Study more. Islam is neither peaceful nor warlike; it’s a religion. Had Islam had the same intellectual history as Christianity, it would now be a peaceful religion. I personally trace the difference to the way that reason was treated in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in the religions. Christianity decided that reason could be used to interpret the world as consistent with its theology; witness the influence of Thomas Aquinas, whom several historians I know have labelled as the most important figure in Western history because of this. Islam decided that reason should take a back seat to faith, and so it turned its back on the vistas opening up before Western civilization and became the narrow, medieval religion we most often see today. Had it gone the other way, Islam would have been the one to reclaim the lost treasure of Greco-Roman civilization, and the Renaissance would have made Muslim civilization the center of the world.

    Now, I’d say that the heavier strain of Semitic theology that exists in Islam, as opposed to the Semitic theology tempered with Greco-Roman thought that exists in Christianity, made it more likely that Islam would follow the path it did, and Christianity would follow the path it did. But . . . look at the accomplishments of Muslim civilization before its turn away from reason to faith. In almost every way it was more accomplished than Western civilization, oftentimes even centuries later. Whatever the Qur’an said, it was often ignored to allow the upper classes, at least, to enjoy the finer things in life. Was it more warlike than Christianity? At first. But consider: Christianity was established as the religion of the Roman Empire when it began its major spread. Christianity didn’t have to conquer; its conquests had unwittingly been made centuries before by pagan Roman generals. Islam, on the other hand, started off as the religion of a couple of minor trading cities on the coast of the Red Sea. It had no chance of spreading except through conquest. Which method it embraced. But I think that if you look at both religions four centuries after they were founded, Islam and Christianity had spread equally as far. And had Christianity not had the tremendous good fortune of the Roman Empire, it might have more readily adopted conquest as its major method of spreading.

    So yeah, given the last few centuries of history, you might be able to say that Islam is not a peaceful religion. But when you look at Islam in its historical context, I think it’s no more nor less inherently violent than Christianity. It’s simply that historical circumstance has favored Christianity embracing peace and reason, and Islam embracing faith and war.*

    * And before you atheists jump all over this: I’m fully aware of the ways in which Christianity has embraced neither peace nor reason. However, again, in historical context, Christian civilization has been among the least hostile to reason, and Christianity has often been at least formally opposed to war, if not very active about it.

  39. Mad Scientist

    No one said a libertarian was apt to think a stick like John Kerry was cool…but he might be much more apt to hang around with Democrats in the dorms, than Republicans in the frat houses, Democrats in the coffee shops than Republicans in the brew cellar.

    Most people get their libertarianism in Senior High School and College, where it is a Contrarian – but still hip – alternative to PC. This is the Reason demographic.

    You get to hang around with the right people…the only unforgiveable sin is to make a principled case for voting for an indentifiable social conservative (and for most of your social companions, the GOP label will suffice), even when you might disagree with him less often, and on less important matters, than the Blue-State favorite sons.

    And don’t tread on any shibboleths like same-sex marriage.

    The problem?
    Libertarian = Contrarian =…Chameleon?

  40. Two words: Gun Control.

    Two more words: Tax Hikes. Dems are already talking about massive tax increases to “save Social Security.”

    Lemme try two more: Socialized Medicine. Hillarycare is back, baby!

    Lou Dobbs

    Jesse Jackson

    Hopefully the Reason staff will snap out of this as soon as they see Dems in action.

  41. Let’s lob a nuclear bomb into the men’s room at the Kremlin.

    –Barry Goldwater

  42. grylliade, you have a curious understanding of other’s expression of their views. Did you really think NAL was talking about how Islam was very long time ago or how it COULD have turned out today had things gone differently? Why? Clearly he was talking about Islam TODAY. And for that you don’t seem to be disagreeing in calling it narrow and medieval. Or are you trying to excuse its violence by calling attention to its “unfortunate” history that got it there?

  43. Yong Kim,

    NAL’s words:

    I’ve studied Islam enough to know it’s NOT a peaceful religion.

    That implies more than watching the news and deciding that the actions of a few are not peaceful. “Studying” implies that the history is involved. The statement that Islam is not a peaceful religion implies that being warlike is inherent in the religion. grylliade did refute NAL.

  44. There is more than a little bit of revionist history going here about Goldwater. The famous Johnson ad worked because there was truth to it. Reason in its worship of Goldwater paints out the whole “extremism in defense of liberty is not a vice” part of his persona. with regard to communism and the cold war, Goldwater in 1964 made Reagan in 1980 look like Jimmy Carter. I can’t imagine those kinds of sentiments going down too well with the current Reason staff. If this were 1964 not 2006, I would imagine the Reason staff would have been pretty solid Johnson guys.

    BTW, the two greatest faux political slogans in history were both about Republicans.

    1. In response to Goldwater’s “in your heart, you know he is right” slogan, the Democratic joke was “Goldwater: In your Gut You Know He is Nuts.”

    2. The 1972 anti-Nixon slogan on t-shirts and bumber stickers everywhere “Why changes dicks in the middle of the screw. Tricky Dicky in 72”

    Democrats used to have a sense of humor. What happened?

  45. I don’t know about something being “inherent” in the religion. He simply expressed that it’s NOT a peaceful religion. And you don’t even disagree with this. Therefore, you come to the same conclusion that it’s NOT a peaceful religion AFTER having done the study. So I don’t see HOW you’re correcting him in any way. There was no talk of whether it was INHERENTLY SO. THAT you brought up.

  46. Yong Kim,

    When you put it that way, I can say that NAL is wrong simply because I have known devout Muslims who were very peaceful, therefore, Islam IS a peaceful religion. Case closed.

  47. It’s the insufficient contrarianism of the Democrat-supporting “libertarians” here that gets them their quotation marks.

    Being stupidly anti-Republican, jibing from the partisan pseudo-left, and reflexively pro-Democrat, swallowing their libertarian rhetoric and glossing over their almost perfectly anti-libertarian plans and actions, is the media-default, adolescent-conformist position. There’s nothing libertarian about it at all.

    And it’s boring.

  48. highnumber, I wasn’t talking to you. I actually mistook your next to last post as grylliade’s. At any rate, I don’t care whether YOU know any peaceful Muslims and whether YOU consider it a peaceful religion. What I was disputing with grylliade isn’t even WHETHER it is a peaceful religion. Since you just refuse to see the point, I guess I’ll try once to clarify then give up:

    1. NAL’s claim wasn’t whether Islam is INHERENTLY violent, only that it is TODAY.

    2. Grylliade doesn’t disagree with this in his post (I wasn’t talking about your view AT ALL and therefore it’s IRRELEVANT).

    3. Even though he seems to agree, he goes on talking about its history, how it might have gone differently. He does so as if he’s correcting NAL. But the only thing NAL has said he doesn’t disagree! So what the hell is he CORRECTING? There has to be something you disagree with if you’re trying to correct it. But what? Whether it’s inherently violent? But NAL didn’t say any such thing.

    Do you get the point now? If no, I give up.

  49. This “Is Islam violent?” question is stupid and how know meaning.

    Are there some peaceful Muslims? Yes

    Are there some that are morivated to violence due to their faith? Yes

    Are their some who are sympathetic to terrorists due to their faith? Yes

    Is it inherentley violent? Whether its violent or not depends on the circumstances and which culture it is brought into.

    Which one of these questions are you asking?

    This reminds me of people saying that christian conservatives are not true Christians. There’s no more “true” Christianity or “true” Islam then there is a “true” interpretation to Peter Pan.

  50. make that “has no meaning”, not whatever gibberish I said in the first sentence.

  51. Clearly he was talking about Islam TODAY. And for that you don’t seem to be disagreeing in calling it narrow and medieval.

    Christians in third-world countries generally have a narrow, medieval faith. Look at Archbishop Peter Akinola, the Anglican primate of Nigeria. He has supported legislation to make homosexuality punishable by up to five years in prison. He has publicly advocated (however subtly and deniably) violence by Christians against Muslims in Nigeria. When a priest in his own church came forward to say that he was gay, and that he supported the ordination of gays in Nigeria, Akinola denied that the man even existed, and had ever been ordained in the church, even though it was provable that he had been. I’m certain that other examples exist.

    The Episcopal Church in the United States, belonging to the same Anglican Communion as Akinola’s church (for now, at least), consecrated an openly gay man living with his partner as a bishop. It has consistently advocated liberalizing Christian doctrine to stay consistent with the latest discoveries, whether they be in science or ethics (sometimes too eager to do so, in my opinion). This from a denomination often known as “the Republican party at prayer.”

    The same difference exists in Islam. Muslims in the West, at least those who have assimilated to Western society, are no more likely to be warlike than their non-Muslim counterparts. Yes, those Muslims who have consistently been denied membership in the society in which they live have been violent; effectively, Europe has allowed the importation of the third world into their own countries. But in the United States and Canada, Muslims have assimilated well. Sure, there are exceptions, but the same can be said of Christians in the United States. For Islam to not be a peaceful religion, you’d have to see a marked difference in the adherents of Islam compared to the adherents of other religions in the same environment. And that you don’t see.

    Or are you trying to excuse its violence by calling attention to its “unfortunate” history that got it there?

    Of, for fuck’s sake. Is that the nuclear option of conservatives? “You’re just being a whiny liberal.” It’s not an “unfortunate” history; it’s just history. If making the lives of Muslims in Muslim countries better meant erasing Islam from the face of the earth, I would support doing that. That, I think, is what people who say that that Islam is not a peaceful religion really mean: that Muslims will never embrace modern liberal society until they give up Islam. That is what I object to. Rather than seeing Islam as an obstacle, I think we should rather view it as a potential ally. Islam has a lot of “hooks” to hang Enlightenment values from, and I think that that’s the only way that Muslim countries will accept them. Or at least the easiest way. Making Islam out to be the bad guy, as somehow uniquely advocating violence in the modern world, is the surest path to never having peace in the Middle East. And in the end, that’s my objective: a more peaceful world. Not in the wishy-washy, “can’t we all just get along” way, but in the “dammit, it’s the right thing to do” way. So fuck you and your insinuations that I’m trying to justify violence. Islam’s history is no more justification for violence than “Islam is NOT a peaceful religon” is a justification for violence.

  52. Considering that JFK was more Republican than GWB the whole idea of who is conservative, libertarian, liberal, or what have you, has been lost in the steady march toward the Utopian state of the American mainstream over the last sixty years.

    My grandfather was a dyed-in-the-wool FDR Democrat who claimed he wouldn’t spit on the best part of the GOP but the party he called home doesn’t exist any more.

    You might think my mother morphed from a Truman Democrat into a Reagan Republican. You’d be wrong, she hasn’t changed her politics a bit.

  53. And, I meant to finish off with……

    Goldwater wouldn’t have a role in the modern GOP because he would be unelectable today, even in Arizona, whose governor supports universal tax paid preschool and gets elected anyway.

  54. highnumber, I wasn’t talking to you.

    Yong Kim,

    grylliade wasn’t talking to you. What’s your point? This website is open for the public to comment.
    TRY to CAPITALIZE less and YOU will come ACROSS as less of a TOOL, by the way.

  55. Grylliade, I’m not a conservative and I’m not calling you a whiny liberal. And I’m not saying that “Islam is NOT a peaceful religion” is a justification for violence. Blah blah blah… I’m not saying and haven’t said any of those things. Please don’t put words in my mouth. Only respond to things I ACTUALLY say, not those that you IMAGINE I might say. The question I asked you is not a rhetorical question. It was a genuine question of puzzlement because it seemed that you don’t disagree with NAL about Islam being a violent religion TODAY, in fact going in great length of its history as to how it GOT to be that way. My simple point (it really is simple) was that if so, you’re not disagreeing with NAL AT ALL. On the other hand, maybe I misread your first post. Maybe you ARE saying that it is a peaceful religion TODAY. If so, I’m puzzled about your discussion of its history of its necessity for conquest. I’m puzzled how this discussion is meant as a support for the idea that Islam is a peaceful religion today. But maybe you have some convoluted explanation for that. Anyway, don’t bother. I don’t care about such an explanation. I’m tired. I don’t enjoy a discussion where people can’t see a simple point but has to go on and on about their soapbox, talking about everything under the sun except the point itself.

    And highnumber, just go fuck yourself. If you’re too dense to see such a simple point, I have no patience for you.

  56. Well, I’ve certainly been put in my place.

  57. Barry Goldwater’s time is not in the past or even in the present, it’s in the future! Exhume Goldwater ’08.

  58. Islamic cultures are pretty fucking violent and crazy these days. I hope no one denies that.

    But the question is: what are the key factors behind this? what factors need to be changed to make these cultures less violent and crazy?

    I take it that, on Grylliade’s reading, when people say “Islam is not a peaceful religion”, they’re saying something like this: Islam is a key factor behind the violence and craziness, and you’d pretty much have to get rid of the Islam in order to get rid of the violence and craziness.

    And so Grylliade says, No, you wouldn’t have to do that, you could get rid of the violence and craziness without getting rid of Islam, because Islam is ripe for a Enlightenment makeover. There’s nothing about Islam in and of itself that leads to the violence and craziness, or prevents these cultures from losing the violence and craziness. And so he rightly brings in history.

    So there is the explanation for why what might look like a question merely about current cultures is actually a question that calls for historical input.

  59. I’m not sure how NAL managed to threadjack this into a discussion of the merits of Islam (I’m neutral), but I found the following anonymous post pretty good. If I could check my “preconceived notions of the author’s allegiances” as Evan so inaccurately stated (because my notions are based on plenty of reading of Weigel’s writings here, at his own blog, and in his DKos diaries), I might have relaxed and said something like the following

    It’s the insufficient contrarianism of the Democrat-supporting “libertarians” here that gets them their quotation marks.

    Being stupidly anti-Republican, jibing from the partisan pseudo-left, and reflexively pro-Democrat, swallowing their libertarian rhetoric and glossing over their almost perfectly anti-libertarian plans and actions, is the media-default, adolescent-conformist position. There’s nothing libertarian about it at all.

    And it’s boring.

    Because it has gotten boring. I don’t know why, because I can read with glee when Nick, Jesse, or Julian (to name but a few) rip into the Republicans for their big-government power trips, but when I read David Weigel’s I just see stupid anti-Republicanism, with no “Free Minds, Free Markets” sentiment behind it.

    This is why I try and refrain myself from even commenting in David’s threads. I’m sure he’s a great kid and his head is in the right place, but there’s a huge difference between forwarding libertarian principles and being a cheerleader for either political party.

  60. Exhume Goldwater

    Hmm. At least the “State of the Union” address would be shorter.

  61. As one of these up and coming whipper-snappers known as the “Under 40” libertarian here is what I know:

    Clinton was bad, as bad as any president had ever been. He and the Democratically controlled congress spent like mad, raised taxes, sent our troops to the Balkans and all over Africa. They upped the War on Drugs and signed the assault weapons ban into law.

    Bush and the GOP have been worse. They have increased spending at the highest rate in US history. They have embroiled us in a war running almost 4 years straight with no sign of ending. They have expanded medicare and other federal programs in ways that may very well be impossible to shrink again. They have enacted the Patriot Act, the first time since the era of McCarthy that US Citizens have been the declared enemy of the government. The only “good” thing they did was allow the assault ban to expire and enact a $400 tax refund. Big freakin’ whoopty-doo. People speak of FDR’s New Deal as a tax sink from hell. Well Bush II makes FDR look positively conservative.

    Call me a shill or whatever you want, but in my admittedly short political lifespan, not only has the GOP not been the shining beacon of liberty, they have been worse than thier rivals.

  62. A brief reminder that the Catholics are STILL taking shit for the Crusades. Anybody want to defend them as a non-violent religion?

  63. Exhume, that is classic. Thanks for the link. Is it your site? I’m blogging it.

  64. Joshua Corning — And I y’all!

  65. As far as local politics and favors, I have found the biggest issues ( in my communities) locally are things like property taxes, school funding, liquor sales,etc.

    And almost always these issues come down close to 50/50. For example, property tax increases are defeated 3 out 4 times normally, and pass or “lose” somewhere around 55/45 or closer. locally there are very few issues.

    And a hardcore libertarian could easily take a stand and still agree with 40-50% of the voters. For example where I am if you oppose poperty tax increases for building new schools, support Sunday liquor sales, and oppose a sales tax increase and minimum wage increase- you agree with probably 40% of the voters. And on any 1 issue you might just be in a majority- Not out of the mainstream whatsoever.

    Also “local” politics varies a lot more than national politics. As everyone knows ( right?) there are very “liberal” areas, very “conservative” areas, and more “libertarian”( though of course not 100% pure).

    As I am not a political strategist, I could be wrong.

    However, “nationally” there are a lot more issues and things are a lot more complex. Ds and Rs seem to hold contradictory positions, while “Ls/ls” ( in our minds, at least) take principled stands on issues. However, these consistently principled positions, on the whole, will only appeal to 1% of voters. Once you go through everything from abortion to immigration, borders, taxes, drug laws, sex laws,etc- it is difficult to find many people who agree with you on everything ( and/or not get completely pissed off by one of your “extreme” positions even if they agree with you 80%).

    A Libertarian can ( and has won) win County Executive on a property tax issue. But that doesn’t work on the bigger national stage. A town council, county, or other local candidate doesn;t really need to get into abortion, immigration, The Gold Standard, the fed, national sales tax, Ayn Rand, Hayek,etc.

  66. rjoynjyot,

    If Islam gets an “enlightenment makeover” is it still Islam? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not.

    I see religion as a cultural phenomenon rather than just a set of beliefs. As such, there’s no separating it from the culture. You might say it changes over time and religion has. Maybe even to the point that it really isn’t the same religion in any meaningful way from how it was long ago. A belief in literal hell (place of eternal torture) used to be central to Christianity long ago and no one would’ve considered those who don’t believe in hell to be Christians. But Christianity has changed in many ways and now there are sects that don’t believe in literal hell from (rightful) criticisms that only an evil, sadistic God would send people to a place of eternal torture. Are these sects still Christianity and merely reflect how it’s changed over time or are they now something else entirely?

    As for NAL’s statement, I don’t see that he was delving into the “key factors” that make Islamic cultures violent. There was no such discussion. You might read the word “religion” very narrowly to mean, say, certain set of beliefs, isolate it from the culture surrounding such beliefs, and say that things other than those beliefs are responsible for the violent culture. But then Grylliade didn’t discuss the Islamic beliefs at all, what they are, and how they would or would not result in violence, only that the culture has gone thru such and such history of conquest to make it violent.

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