Fusionists on Parade

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(L-R: Jonathan Chait, David Kirby, David Boaz, Ramesh Ponnuru, Brink Lindsey)

In case you were wondering how that Liberaltarian debate shook down, you're in luck: Much of the discussion sprung from the public articles the speakers have already written on the subject. David Boaz marshalled his polling data suggesting that up to 50 percent of voters could count themselves as libertarian, depending on the issue map. Ramesh Ponnuru expanded on his super-skeptical blog posts, arguing that the GOP would be silly to trade large numbers of conservative votes for a smaller number of anti-spending, socially liberal votes. Brink Lindsey re-argued his article, this time with feeling. And Jonathan Chait thoughtfully dumped cold water on it all.

There was an extremely brief Q&A, during which Reason Contributing Editor Julian Sanchez got off a stumper about how fast young voters were leaving the GOP. One question I wanted to ask, and didn't have the chance to: Since we've learned that the optimal real-world political situation* for libertarians is divided government, shouldn't the libertarian vote be incredibly fungible? That is, they should vote for Republicans when a Democrat is president and vote Democratic when a Republican is president? A Republican president appointing economically conservative judges with a Democratic Congress nixing the occasional lunatic nominee and blocking his efforts to wage ridiculous wars; a Democratic president appointing socially liberal judges with a Republican Congress cutting his spending requests. Of course, divided governments may compromise and agree to ram through their absolute worst ideas, but we saw plenty of stuff like that—Republicans boxing out Democrats on an issue like Medicare—with total GOP control.

*The optimal fantasy world situation being one where the Libertarian Party actually can win the presidency and ice cream makes you skinny.

NEXT: Is Philly the Next New York?

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  1. It’s not a fantasy of a libertarian president, well maybe it is. I’m a libertarian and I know my opinions are correct, at least to me. However libertarians seem to be hated and said to be crazy by a lot of people, namely the mainstream media. 🙁

  2. “That is, they should vote for Republicans when a Democrat is president and vote Democratic when a Republican is president?”

    As long as the GOP remains the more hawkish party, this is a bad idea. War is going to set the tone for every other policy debate–it’s the health of the state, I’m told–and since Republicans either don’t have or don’t care to cultivate a significant anti-war, pro-civil liberties constituency, you can bet that a McCain, Romney, or Giuliani will be much more likely to use the strength of the executive to strike a pugnacious pose after the fashion of President Cuckoo Bananas. Democrats have been stung by the idiocy of rolling over for the Iraq War and aren’t likely to make the same mistake again. They may work harder and succeed in their pursuit of welfarish legislation, but at this point who the fuck really thinks an increase in entitlement spending or EPA restrictions is more dangerous to the nation’s health than bombing or acting like we’re going to bomb the brown-skinned enemies du jour?

  3. Sorry, to clarify: A hawkish GOP president with a Democratic congress is still a more dangerous beast since the president’s traditional role in foreign policy is getting more and more robust and the Congress’s role in the same is getting weaker and weaker.

  4. Libertarians are for individual liberty and private property rights.

    Liberal Democrats are opposed to them.

    Despite their big spending/big government ways
    Republicans do seem to support judges who favor limited government. Conservative ideology (if not practice) favors individual liberty and private property rights as do libertarians.

    Where is the common ground between liberal
    democrats and libertarians?

  5. What we want is a president who will appoint the right judges and a congress who will stop his excesses.

    Let’s see if the Democrats stop Bush’s excesses this term–if they do, the Republican Pres/Democrat Congress model may be a good one.

  6. Isn’t antone ready to give up on politics?

  7. I just read Brink Lindsey’s piece. I think he is writing from some other dimension-a bizarro world if you will.Common ground on the Drug War? Liberal Progressives started the whole damn thing. An overwhelming democrat congressional majority wrote and passed its most draconian excesses.Prohibition is ideologically consistent with progressive liberal philosophy.For a recent example look at the fight over “nutritional supplements” back in the 1990s. Republicans actually favor choice when it comes to self-medication/drugs-just not those bad drugs.Liberal Democrats want to regulate everything you put in your body food vitamins drugs etc.

    I could go on forvever but look at Communitarian or Utilitarian writings-the ideology favored by liberals- it is all about the common (collective) good. Totally against
    individual rights and liberty.

    The solution is not a liberal-libertarian fusion but a breaking up the Progressive/moderate conservative fusion.

  8. I don’t think there ever was a true fusion between libertarians and conservatives. It was always a marriage of convenience by two outsider groups during the period of dominance by New Deal and post-New Deal liberalism.

    The situation was more akin to you both being “opposition parties” in a European, parliamentary democracy, with conservatives playing the role of the Conservatives and libertarians being, I don’t know, a monarchist party or something. Every once in a while, the Social Dems would screw up bad enough to lose their majority and have to go courting, or a few SD backbenchers would break ranks to join the opposition in a No Confidence vote.

    It’s only the length of your time in the opposition, and the vehemence of your opposition, that produced the appearance of an actual alliance.

  9. Look at the areas of alleged agreement S.I.V. singles out.

    Liberal Democrats are against individual liberty and conservatives are for it? Tell that to the publisher of Hustler. Hell, tell it the publisher of Howl.

    “Republicans do seem to support judges who favor limited government.” Unless the government wants to tap your phone, read your mail, choreograph your sex life, keep your daughter from avoiding or ending pregnancy, arrest you without reading you your rights, or throw you in Gitmo.

    He singles out the drug war, which was pushed most vigorously by Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and the Republican Congress.

    There are many conservatisms, but the “traditionalist” version Pomorronu single out was about a individualst, about as opposed to collectivism, as the Franciscans. Individualism only meant anything to those people as an economic policy

    Anti-socialism/anti-communism was the one true area where there was a meeting of the minds, but the USSR is dead. And even during the Cold War, that was a pretty thin thread with which to lift a strategic alliance into a philosophical union.

    The conservative/libertarian fusion was a myth, one promoted by Republicans seeking to exploit you, to change the relationship from one in which you worked together on common efforts to one in which libertarians owed their support to the GOP, and were expected to sit obediently by when they went forward with the 70% of their program that is philosophically irrconcilable with libertarianism.

    I think there’s a lot to the idea that liberalism has more to offer libertarians in the 20th century than conservatism, but if you’re smart, you’ll view the relationship as a series of transactions, not a marriage.

    Cuz you ain’t gettin’ no ring.

  10. Joe,

    That was an overwhelmingly Democrat congress that gave us the draconian drug war in the 1980s under Reagan. Nixon was no conservative.

    Of course there are exceptions but generally “liberal ” judges think they are to address social problems, create law, uphold the interests of the State. While “conservative” judges determine whether actions of The State are consistent with existing law and the Constitution. Look at the Kelo descision-liberal judges said there are no private property rights.Look at the minority opinion in the Raich descision.Clarence Thomas does not believe the Feds have any right to prohibit marijuana.
    The ideology of modern conservatism is much more consistent with that of libertarians.
    Libertal opposition to the power of the State is based on the fact that they weren’t in charge. Their ideology is one of Statism and Collectivism. Liberal Democrats are opposed to individual liberty and private property rights-the basic tenets of libertarianism.

  11. Actually, allegedly Single Issue Voter, that was an overwhelmingly Dem-o-crat-IC Congress.

    C’mon, you can do it. Dem. O. Crat. Ic.

    I say this because you are certainly not a partisan shill for the Republicans (heavens no!), and substituting Democrat (the noun) in place of Democratic (the adjective) is a deliberate strategy Republican shills use, as polling and focus gropus done by Newt Gringrich’s GOPAC in the early 1990s determined that this small verbal trick produces more negative feelings towards the Democratic Party among the participants.

    But what would you know about that. You’re a Single Issue Voter.

  12. joe,

    We don’t want a ring- you’d probably be spending tax-money on it!

  13. “I say this because you are certainly not a partisan shill for the Republicans (heavens no!), and substituting Democrat (the noun) in place of Democratic (the adjective) is a deliberate strategy Republican shills use, as polling and focus gropus done by Newt Gringrich’s GOPAC in the early 1990s determined that this small verbal trick produces more negative feelings towards the Democratic Party among the participants.”

    Because you, joe, would never use small verbal tricks used to create negative feelings towards your disliked groups…

  14. I don’t call myself “non-aligned, non-partisan joe.”

  15. Call yourself “Think Progress” or “Democratic Underground” joe ( I know Code Pink joe!).
    I am well aware of that ” linguistic trick” to which you refer. Much more subtle than Republicans = Nazis isn’t it?

    Your quibble might have some tiny merit if I was refering to the Democrat Party instead of the Democratic Party ( or the ‘RAT party” as the “Republican dupes” believe it thanks to those subliminal ads.
    Congress has a majority of Democrats – not “Democratics” one.It is controlled by members of a party that have a D by their names.As in Charlie Rangel (D) NY (Yeah when he gets his military draft he will go back to his other pet issue-the draconian drug war-from a very liberal congressman no less) the D stands for Democrat.Perhaps Democratic Congress is somehow correct but it would be confusing as it is a represenative democracy.I will defer to that boogeyman the MSM which usually refers to control by the Demoocratic Party as something other than a “Democratic Congress”.

    The “Democratic Party” (there are you happy now) has many more members who recieve %100 ratings from the anti-private property animal rights groups for their support of anti-cockfighting laws. That is my “single issue”.

  16. Incidently Louisiana Democrat Chris John , who was defeated by David Vitter(R) in the Senate election to replace John Breaux, is one of the strongest supporters of legal cockfighting to hold political office in modern times. He calls it(correctly) “wholesome family entertainment”.

    As a single issue voter I would support him over anyone else if he were to run for POTUS in 2008

  17. The people beating up on joe have done a good job of persuading me that libertarians should not marry the Democrats/Democratics/left/liberals/whatever.

    Fortunately, joe has suggested the same thing. Instead, he has suggested transactions. Stuff like “Vote Dem in 2006 and the Democrat/Democratic/whatever party will stand up to Bush on a few issues of common interest.”

    If at some point in the next 2 years they follow through on that in a meaningful way, I’ll consider another transaction. Otherwise, I’ll vote LP as a protest until one side or the other persuades me to consider another transaction.

  18. S.I.V,

    “I am well aware of that ” linguistic trick” to which you refer.” No kidding. Something you picked up a cockfight, maybe?

    “Much more subtle than Republicans = Nazis isn’t it?” Yes. That’s what makes it a trick. You’d barely notice it, and it doesn’t even convey any meaning. Just a petty act of rudeness, like any other deliberate mispronunciation of someone’s name.

    “Perhaps Democratic Congress is somehow correct but it would be confusing as it is a represenative democracy.” It wouldn’t be “somehow correct.” It would be grammaticall correct. You don’t use a noun to modify a noun. You use an adjective.

    You know, like referring to “a popular Jew meeting place” rather “a popular Jewish meeting place.” Deliberately provocative, just for the sake of being a dick. With emphasis on the “deliberate.”

  19. And yes, seeing “It would be grammaticall correct” makes me swell with pride.

  20. Yeah but Boaz is counting people like Arnold Schwarzengroper as libertarian leaning presumably because he’s okay with gay marriage. Unfortunately, that’s about as close to libertarian as Arnie is getting. Ditto for the rest of the 50%.

  21. Oooops, sorry Joe, I guess I deliberately mis-pronounced the guber’s name. Petty rudeness I guess. 🙂

  22. joe,

    Didn’t you get the memo from the Democrat Party HQ and the Wesley Clark campaign?

    The new PC term:

    “popular New York money people meeting place”

    Look, I don’t like either of the two political parties at all but we go to elections with the parties we have not the parties we wish we have. Look at how the parties define themselves ideologically and rhetorically- Democrat…ic Party Republican Party and Libertarian Party.
    Now take that Libertarian peg and try to hammer it into one of those major party holes. Hey it almost fits in the Republican one now doesn’t it?

    Now in reality and governance they are all at odds-true. Which party has elected candidates for whom libertarian is a fitting adjective? I can think of Jeff Flake and Ron Paul maybe former Rep John Kasich c’mon name some more-I kmow you can-Barry Goldwater….

    OK name one Democrat.
    I rest my case.

    The Democrats -like the Leopard-will not change their spots. The Republicans stand a chance of being whipped into shape. Has anyone even tried to form a libertarian Democrat Party Caucus?

  23. A few questions:

    1. Joe (or others)– can you explain the reason that “Democrat” is perceived as an insult when used as an adjective? I understand that it’s a phatic of sorts, but I don’t really get what the problem is?

    2. Will someone make the best possible case that the drug war was born or intensified at the hands of progressives?

  24. I’ve done 2 before
    don’t have time right now
    Food and Drug laws passed by Progressives
    Harrison narcotics Tax act-1914
    Mariuana Tax Act and law requiring prescriptions for most drugs whether psychoactive or not under FDR and democratic congress in 1937
    LBJ LSD in 66
    Rockefeller laws in New York State
    (everyone knows what a rockefeller republican is)

    Look at the the fight over nutritional supplements in the 1990s and who was on each side

    Alchohol prohibition is known historically as a “Progressive” policy/experiment

    Yes through history Republicans and christians have advocated Progressive causes as well

    sorry I can’t do better on short notice
    read some social history

    It also helps to look at food and drug prohibition/regulation as a whole and not just the big illegal drugs-get to the ideology behind why the State should even have a say in such matters
    I think this would be generally better known except many of those who have written about it are themselves progressive on other issues and a little blind to what progressives have supported/implemented

    other noxious progressive policys or ideas-eugenics and forced acculturation of indigenous peoples -the forced repatriation to Africa of slaves upon freedom(widely held among northern abolitionists)

  25. “The optimal fantasy world situation being one where the Libertarian Party actually can win the presidency and ice cream makes you skinny.”

    This is just marginally more fanciful than the idea of manipulating a divided government into pursuing libertarian policies. Could it be that libertarianism in its purer forms has about as much appeal to normal voters as the doctrine of no salvation outside the Church has to non-Catholics? Just asking.

  26. Edward!

    you hit upon the problem. Any group that puts a economic theory above the entire socio-political structure of THE NATION they live in might have a hard time convincing voters of their credibility when they run for political office.

    Maybe better to actually formulate some bona fide public policy that actually makes people freer in small but measurable ways rather than demanding abolishment of everything and promoting issues no voter in 10000 gives a damn about, like the right to secede, returning to the gold standard, demanding abolishment of this or that, holing yourself up in a shack and daring the feds to come get you for the income tax….. let me count the ways….

  27. Just a petty act of rudeness, like any other deliberate mispronunciation of someone’s name.

    Like “Pomorronu”? Pot, meet kettle. Rise above the DU/Freeper crap, joe.

  28. Could it be that libertarianism in its purer forms has about as much appeal to normal voters as the doctrine of no salvation outside the Church has to non-Catholics? Just asking.

    I’ll bite. Yes you are right. The ideal libertarian platform is ‘we won’t do anything for you’, at least on the federal level. It just doesn’t win elections. Of course for me that’s fine, but politically it is self defeating.

    The real change needs to occur socially over a long period of time. The reality is that for most people in their twenties the federal government really doesn’t do much, and isn’t really necessary. Most of us don’t live in New Orleans, we aren’t near retirement, we don’t have a lot of health care expenses, we aren’t pursuing union jobs, we are getting educations, blah blah blah and so on.

    The pattern could go as such; by the time we retire we will have invested in our future more then the boomers and in greater numbers, and the generation after us will have done so even more. Over time we will become more independent, and eventually reach a point where SS and Medi-whatever will only be necessary as a safety net for the few, as they should be. The reality is that right now the changes we want just aren’t possible. Getting rid of the big entitlement programs would be like pulling the plug on a comatose patient and saying ‘alright you’re cool now, go be free!’.

    On the civil liberties tip we are becoming more liberal. Most of us have grown up with gay and multi-ethnic friends, have had drug experiences, believe in free speech, are less religious, and in general prefer indie-rock and hip-hop to country. I could be full of shit but when you add it all up there could be a big bright libertarian future down the road. Until then, grid lock. I guess?

  29. I say gridlock.

    Here is how to vote: find out who the incumbent is. Vote against that person. This is MUCH tougher for constituents of Ron Paul, and maybe that Flake from Arizona.

    Dig up Barry Goldwater and vote for his corpse. Sure everything about him would stink, but no more than the incumbents.

  30. “Maybe better to actually formulate some bona fide public policy that actually makes people freer in small but measurable ways”
    I’ve always thought that an effective libertarianism would have to go with this sentiment. This is one of the reasons why I always de-emphasize the “economic” aspects of libertarianism (that and I am convinced that this section of libertarian theory is simply stuck on aggressively by wealthy foundations that back the think tanks, because it is simply in their interest to get us averag joes to think that to be in favor of liberty we must be in favor of their ‘right’ to use their advantages to make us work 80 hours a week). I always ask myself: would this policy give people more or less choice in their lives? So if I think about a policy that prevents company owners from invading their workers I just do the math: a handful of owners are restricted in what they can do vs. thousands of workers who have more freedom and privacy. And it’s a simple choice, really. Most libertarians worry so much over Mr. Potter’s right to run Pottersville however he wants to that they forget the population of the city who lose all really meaningful freedom (the ability to make choices that matter in their lives). Let principle be done though the heavens fall is what I would say, but heck, this even subverts the very principle (maximizing liberty) that is supposed to be at issue here! The Pommorunu conservatives are NRO have no foundation with libertarians: they do not even respect economic rights if they must be trampled for traditionalists reasons (heck, they have folks who think it was right for Truman to seize the steel mills for the Korean War effort). And of course they have never given a whit about civil liberties…If most libertarians would ask themselves, who would they rather hang out with (teetotaling, abstinence loving conservatives [remember religious conservatives dominate the movement] vs. hard drinking, bong-hitting anything goes in the bedroom liberals) I think the answer is easy. My only real beef with liberals for years has been affirmative action and gun rights, and at least they seem to have slacked off on the latter.

  31. that should read company owners invading their workers privacy

  32. On the civil liberties tip we are becoming more liberal. Most of us …believe in free speech, …

    Small quibble:

    I read somewhere (don’t remember where exactly) that in a survey of High School kids, participants were asked if the government should censor what is printed in newspapers and news programs and overwhelmingly they said yes? I don’t think that really bodes well for the future of “free speech”.

    Go Bears!

  33. If we all vote anti-incumbent for the next twenty years, we will have a mostly Libertarian form of government at the end of that time.

    The reason politicians spend 100 million dollars to become a Senator is because it is a license to steal. It is the same with all office holders. If you eliminate incumbency, the whole motivation to be a dirt-ball politician is eliminated. If Senators could hold office for only one term, then what could they offer to sell to the lobbyists?

  34. Well, speaking of history, one should note that people have been all to willing to give the government more power to punish “someone else”. Just look at the Salem Witch Trials. That was only stopped when someone went after the governor’s wife. The War on Terror is being waged against crazy brown skinned people who call their [our?] god Allah. The War on Drugs is being waged on faceless junkies supplied by largely dark skinned thugs. Sure, we’re willing to tolerate torture and invasion of privacy for those subhuman abominations. Who wouldn’t? That’s why we have Abu Graib and Guantanamo. As long as the atrocities are heaped on “someone else” who cares? Especially if most people don’t like “someone else”.
    It seems Jesus and Paul never said much about gay marriage or abortion but the use of religion for self-justification was sure high on their list.

  35. JT,

    Your argument would be much more persuasive if you eliminated the stupid race baiting.

  36. -Chicago Tom

    True enough. However they are high school students who tend to be either really conservative or really progressive, without a real solid identity (whatever that means). Most of them probably won’t start really thinking about politics seriously until later. I used to be really progressive and thought banning hate speech was a good thing, while simultaneously claiming to be pro-free speech because I supported Hustler’s right to provide a platform for sexy time explosion. However I also didn’t really care about politics either. So I never thought about the details or philosophical roots of my beliefs. Between getting an engineering degree and trying to get laid there just wasn’t much room.

    Anyway, I am just going off of personal experience, but I do see the same trend amongst my friends. Again I could be full of shit. After all I just knew that New Orleans was going to win. 😉

    -Go Federer

  37. However they are high school students who tend to be either really conservative or really progressive, without a real solid identity (whatever that means).

    steveintheknow,

    You’re right. I just feel more cynical because it seems that in elementary and high school these kids are being taught that the proper way to act is to just bow down to authority and not question the reasons/effectiveness/validity of the what authority figures say. Critical thinking and questioning conventional wisdom, are not being promoted (and in many cases if teachers try to promote it, parents try to get that teacher fired for being a trouble maker).
    For example, just yesterday I read this article about a school that banned talking at lunch — other new rules included no leaving your seat and only one trip to the trash can allowed. Sure it may seem like a minor thing, but everything bad starts as a minor thing and grows from there

    It just doesn’t fill me with as much hope. But I might be dead wrong too. I really hope I am wrong

  38. Brett,

    I make no apologies for misspellings. As you might have noticed.

    Bob Dobalina,

    2. SIV is conflating two definitions of “progressive,” the Progressive movement of the early 20th century that included people like Bob LaFollette and Woodrow Wilson, and the modern usage as a rough synonymn for “liberal.” You might have noticed that he completely failed to indict any modern liberals.

    1. First of all, deliberately misprouncing anyone’s name is a childish act of petty rudeness. Second, for some reason, the shorter, clipped term falls harsher on the ear when used as an adjective. I can’t actually explain why “Democrat majority” or “Jew majority” sound worse than “Democratic majority” or “Jew majority,” but they pretty obviously do.

  39. SIV doth protest:

    “Look, I don’t like either of the two political parties at all…”

    Oh, no. Of course not.

  40. I can’t actually explain why “Democrat majority” or “Jew majority” sound worse than “Democratic majority” or “Jew majority,” but they pretty obviously do.

    I guess we know where you stand on the concept of a “Jew majority” now, don’t we?

    Of course, I’m kidding.

  41. D’oh!

    That should have read, ‘I can’t actually explain why “Democrat majority” or “Jew majority” sound worse than “Democratic majority” or “Jewish majority,” but they pretty obviously do.’

  42. Man: the political animal.

  43. SIV: I so agree! It’s really a shame the Republicans had so much to deal with in the last six years that they didn’t get around to delivering on the drug legalization plank of their platform. Damn those Democrats constantly hemming and hawing about how drug crime sentences should be harsher!

  44. As much as you’ve railed against NR/NRO here over the years, I find it curious that not only would you not yet know how to spell Ponnuru’s name (or spend the 3 seconds it takes to scroll up and get it right), but that you’d misspell it with “moron” inserted phonetically in the middle. Pure coincidence or purely coincidental? One man’s trick is another man’s…aw hell, nevermind.

  45. This essay about Milton Friedman sheds some light on this topic. Atleast in terms of the weaknesses of absolutist thinking regarding social policy. If the Republicans or Democrats can provide libertarians with anything positive, it is a counter balance to the absolutist thinking that keeps them marginal.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19857

  46. I don’t know, for some reason I feel compelled to agree with SIV and OIV.

  47. I was going to wait until the rhetoric heated up again but instead…..this is for Chicago Tom.

    And now back to my drudgery……

  48. On the civil liberties tip we are becoming more liberal.

    Even if that was true, “The Environment” (a church is surely now open somewhere near you) trumps it all.

    Everybody and his mother wants to “save the environment”. And everybody’s solution comes down to draconian collectivism, in one form or another.

    Because nothing is too harsh on people when it’s time to save Mother Earth.

    I have little hope of a libertarian future.

    Libertarian ideals are frontier ideals. I have never seen a time or place in history where they’ve survived for very long outside that environment.

  49. You know, you could freak out over the presence or absence of two letters, as I’ve seen several Democrat-types do, or you could use your power as a cultural propogator to recover the word. I mean, the Republicans have already made “liberal” into a slur. If you can’t hold on to “Democrat,” how much confidence can one really have in you?

  50. Nonetheless, I find the liberaltarian argument as interesting as it is unlikely. As much as I dislike the Democrats for their collectivist tendencies, I’ve had to concede a point or two to joe now and then.

    I’m a lassiez faire capitalist because I have yet to see anything that works better. But let me be the first to concede that capitalism has some really big warts.

    The idea of some sort of compromise between liberals and libertarians could very well be the path to an optimum “working answer”. But I hold no illusions that the two sides are ever going to get cozy with one and other. The compromises, if rational versions are to emerge, will be hammered out between the opposing battle lines as they currently exist.

    Overall, it isn’t clear to me that a more collaborative effort would actually provide better results than what’s happening now. I think there would just be propensities for different kinds of errors.

    You have to face the fact that when you get this many people involved in this kind of effort, there are going to be huge inefficiencies in the whole process.

    That’s why I think libertarians should be pushing The Bill of Rights as a religion. It’s individual freedom and especially freedom of speech that hold the only hope for decent final outcomes.

  51. btw, there’s a basic underlying reason why economic liberty (government hands off version) has limited popular appeal. Because on average, it only really appeals to that segment of the population who intends to actually use it.

    Economically, the movers and shakers are, oh say, maybe 10-15% of the population. Somebody remind me again what the libertarian percentage is estimated to be — it’s about that much as I recall.

    Maybe, my perception here isn’t accurate. But I suspect it isn’t so far off the mark.

  52. I didn’t insert “moron” into his name, Brett. Maybe “morron,” but that doesn’t mean anything.

    I’ve only seen his name in print, and remembered it wrong, because I don’t have the phoentic memory. Lose the paranoia.

    hale, there’s nothing wrong with “Democrat.” I call myself a Democrat all the time. Likewise, there’s nothing wrong with “Jew.” Likewise, there is nothing wrong with the name “Dick” – unless you call yourself Rick, and some jackass in a bar thinks is funny to keep calling you “Dick” just to be rude.

    But ultimately, my point isn’t mis-using the noun for the word when the adjective is proper is the end of the world. It’s that S.I.V. is a partisan Republican hack posing as a neutral observer, and his language gives him away.

  53. Economically, the movers and shakers are, oh say, maybe 10-15% of the population

    I could be wrong but I always took the libertarian demographic to be more middle, to upper middle class (again whatever that means). The big corp. CEO types always struck me as being perfectly fine with government intervention, as long as it helps them secure a monopoly of some sort. Again, I am probably full of it.

    Even if that was true, “The Environment” (a church is surely now open somewhere near you) trumps it all.

    Yeah, it’s a pretty cookie evangelical outfit with retarded marquis messages, and fucks up traffic on Sunday. The best part, it changes colors at night. Of course there is a strip club and a few liquor stores down the street too. 😉

  54. meant kookie, not cookie.

  55. joe,
    Why do I bother? I mentioned Drug Warrior Charlie Rangel. Tip O’Neil led the big shift to the draconian drug war we have today.Both liberal democrats. Progressive means nearly exactly the same thing today as it did then. Using law and public policy to “better” people who are too dumb and dangerous to know what is good for society. Of course educated wealthy elites know best.

    And when the “Progressive” policy fails blame it on the opposition. Or as they liked to say in the more “Progressive” Socialist States of the 20th century (so idolized by many American progressives)-counter-revolutionaries, reactionaries and “Capitalist-roaders”

  56. OK everybody stop saying “Jew”
    The new Democrat Party preferred term is
    “New York money people”

    Science H Darwin people! Are you all developmentally disabled?

  57. Sheesh, listening to you libertarians you get the impression that you’re more worried about the War on Drugs than you are about civil liberties.

    And could you please settle down and decide if the FDA is a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? If you believe if it’s a Bad Thing and Evil, then obviously you want to get rid of it. Would you please read up as to WHY the FDA came about in the first place? Somehow I think running on a platform that it doesn’t make any difference what crap people put in your supposed cancer drugs because you can always sue them later after the cancer has gone terminal isn’t going to get many takers.

    Ditto about environmental protection. Because we can’t identify any one molecule has having been emitted by any one location/company, we prefer to have regulations on emissions. If anyone’s got a better way about it, please inform me. (I do favor carbon rights, by the way. The feasibility of using this is limited–l can’t see anyone going for dioxin trading rights, for example.)

  58. And who the Fuck (besides you) says I’m pretending to be “neutral” whatever that means?

    I’m a libertarian-anarchist.

    (My single issue for the 2008 POTUS race is legal cockfighting)

    I am arguing that there is NO common ground between the Democrat Party(and modern left-liberalism) and libertarians
    as Democrats do not believe in private property or individual liberty. I also add there are NO
    “libertarian-leaning” elected Democrats at the National level.

  59. grealist,
    The FDA was originally charged with preventing “mis-branding” Nothing wrong there, although hardcore libertarians would prefer they be a non-State trade group like Underwriters Laboratories or something. They went after “un-branded” patent medicines on the basis that people are too stupid to make a rational descision on whether to quaff a product that does not disclose its ingredients. But I digress….

    They were supposed to prevent the sale of adulterated foods. I can go to any grocery store today and find “Fat-Free” dairy fat products and fresh meat that contains %15 saline solution. Like most government agencies/programs they are not doing what they were originally responsible FOR doing.

    As for Cancer drugs, I think most “terminal” patients will give anything a go if given the choice- despite lacking FDA approval.

  60. It’s that S.I.V. is a partisan Republican hack posing as a neutral observer, and his language gives him away.

    You know that’s like throwing chum to sharks, joe.

    As for Cancer drugs, I think most “terminal” patients will give anything a go if given the choice- despite lacking FDA approval.

    Considering that there are people who believe in quack meds like Cancell and even laetrile, you are correct there.

  61. Sheesh, listening to you libertarians you get the impression that you’re more worried about the War on Drugs than you are about civil liberties.

    Sort of like saying I’m more worried about arson than getting my house burned down.
    War on Drugs–>Loss of Civil Liberties.

    The Libertarian poster children should be groups like the Pink Pistols. (http://www.pinkpistols.org/) GLBT gun owners. The Democrats want to disarm them, the Republicans want to keep them from living together. They get screwed at both ends.

    My only real beef with liberals for years has been affirmative action and gun rights, and at least they seem to have slacked off on the latter.

    “NICS Improvement Act,” H.R. 297.
    “The Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention Act of 2007” H.R.256.
    H.R. 428, “To require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban toys which in size, shape, or overall appearance resemble real handguns.”
    “Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2007,” H.R. 96.

    And that’s just in the House.

  62. Although I’m not into, ah, cock fighting. Smirk. I will agree with SIV that libertarians have little common ground with Dems. But I said that before I guess.

  63. The ideal libertarian platform is ‘we won’t do anything for you’

    Uh, Wrong.

    Shouldn’t the ideal libertarian platform be “We will protect your natural rights.” ?

  64. No one has the right to be cruel to animals. Period. It’s not a right that is to be protected. Sorry. I have no problem with laws against cock fighting. It’s most definitely something to be abolished, along with bullfighting, etc.

  65. fill in the etc. Jake
    Foie Gras production? Animal Testing? Circuses?
    Hunting Fishing Horseback Riding…..?
    Meat eating? Wearing Leather? Dog and Cat ownership? Zoos Milk production Bee keeping?
    eating honey? Aquariums?

  66. “Since we’ve learned that the optimal real-world political situation* for libertarians is divided government, shouldn’t the libertarian vote be incredibly fungible? That is, they should vote for Republicans when a Democrat is president and vote Democratic when a Republican is president?”- DW

    FUCK YES.

    Permit me to quote my favorite pundit, um… me in support of David’s assertion:

    “As pointed out in Ryan’s article, libertarian organization is going to have to look different than traditional politics, after all, it is something we will have to be able to accomplish while sitting in the hot-tub.

    What is needed, is an organizing principle. Ideally, a principle that is so obvious, so logical, and so clear-cut, that no leadership is needed, no parties are needed, no candidates are needed, and no infrastructure is needed. Ideally it is this easy: You think about the principle, and you know how to vote.

    That organizing principle exists. It is Divided Government. It is absolutely clear-cut and easy to understand. Divided Government is documented by Niskanen et.al. to work in a practical real-world manner to restrain the growth of the state. As a voting strategy it can be implemented immediately. More importantly, it can collectively be implemented individually as we sit in our hot tubs and ponder the sorry state of the world.

    Whatever the percentage of the electorate that libertarians represent, whether it is 9% or 20%, if they vote as a block for Divided Government, they immediately become the brokers of an evenly split partisan electorate. They arguably become the single most most potent voting block in the country, specifically because they are willing to vote either Democratic or Republican as a block. Specifically because they are not fused to one party or the other.”

  67. I’m not sold on divided government although Mrs TWC tells me there is some evidence that it works. My experience has been that every administration spends and regulates more than the one before, irrespective of who is in CONgress or who is in the majority. So, if you’re only talking degree, you’re really talking about the difference between being stabbed to death or shot in the head.

    I will choose a vote for someone who most closely mirrors my values and that isn’t going to be the latter day darlings of this website, Mr Webb or Mr Obama. It might be Ron Paul or maybe even my old buddy Ed Royce, but most likely it’s going to be whoever the LP puts up.

    Throw away vote? BFD. Everybody’s vote is a throw away vote. You’re fully and totally screwed anyway so you may as well vote your conscience.

    I’m going to quit pretending I’m working now.

  68. single issue voter – if you are really a libertarian-anarchist, you should not vote.

  69. raot,

    You are getting close. Why do you think I picked my single issue? Cockfighting as a litmuis test. I see cockfighting as a perfect libertarian issue.It involves basic concepts like property rights, freedom of association, freedom of contract as well as being a long and deeply held cultural practice/sport of both our majority culture and much of our immigrant population- Hispanic and Asian.
    Progressives are on the verge of wiping it out by appealing to the masses who have no knowlege or experience of it. Cockfighting bans
    highlight the anti-liberty, minding other peoples business,yes even racist tendencies of Progressives.Take a look at the underpinning philosophy/ideology (utilitarianism) of “animal rights” it is in direct opposition to Liberty.

    I’m actually hoping my single issue prevents me from voting-cause if it doesn’t I might have trapped myself into holding my nose and voting for Sam Brownback!

  70. single issue voter –

    There is no special need to make an issue out of cockfighting. If one considers oneself a libertarian-anarchist, it should go without saying that one does not vote. There is no way voting could possibly help to create a libertarian-anarchist society.

  71. Sheesh, listening to you libertarians you get the impression that you’re more worried about the War on Drugs than you are about civil liberties.

    You don’t get it: the War on Drugs is the greatest threat to civil liberties in the U.S. Not because preventing us from taking drugs is a violation of our liberties — though of course it is — but because the tactics used to fight it virtually define violations of civil liberties. From no-knock warrants to intrusive government-mandated drug testing to efforts to disarm us to the evisceration of the fourth amendment to the militarization of the police.

    Almost everything in the Patriot Act is simply an amplification of drug war tactics, not entirely new powers given to the government.

  72. “I’m not sold on divided government although Mrs TWC tells me there is some evidence that it works…” – TWC

    TWC – You are correct that each administration spends and regulates more than the previous regardless of: party in the white house; single party control or divided government. Divided government does work in the sense that it is well documented that under divided government growth is restrained, i.e. things get worse more slowly. Now that is a good thing in itself and a poliitcal state that libertarians should strive to maintain, if for no other reason it buys time to find other ways to heal the patient. It is a tourniquet to prevent the patient from bleeding to death, not a cure.

    David’s point, which I agree, is that it could also be an organizing voting principle for libertarian voting, a way to herd the libertarian cats. Unless libertarians are identified as a significant, and identifiable voting block that can affect elections, it will never have political capital. If you don’t have political capital, you cannot affect policy change.

    A case can and has been made (at CATO and elsewhere), that the libertarian vote shifting from Republican to Democrat was the reason the Dems took Congress in the mid-terms. If that were to happen again in ’08 presidential campaign – it will put political capital in libertarian pockets. By this I mean we would begin to see candidates actively courting the libertarian vote in close elections. The Libertarian vote can be courted by supporting libertarian principles and policy. When politicians become concerned about alienating the libertarian vote, we take the first steps to healing the patient and not just stop the bleeding.

    That said, David’s voting prescription: “vote for Republicans when a Democrat is president and vote Democratic when a Republican is president…”, is too simplistic.

    In 2008 it will be virtually impossible for the Democrats to lose control of Congress. That means the only way to insure divided government into 2009 is to elect a Republican president.

    The divided government “organizing principle” leads to the conclusion that libertarians should be working to promote and nominate an acceptable libertarian leaning Republican in the primary season. Chuck Hagel and Ron Paul seem the best choices.

  73. No Chuck Hagel for me.

    He is with Hilary Clinton and Maria Cantwell in supporting anti-cockfighting legislation.
    (incidently so were Rick Santorum and Arlen Spector)

    Beyond “The Single Issue” Hagel would be useless for moving the country towards free market agriculture.

  74. I guess single issue voter thinks animals are property in the same sense as an inanimate object and therefore one can do anything with them. Why don’t you make bestiality laws your litmus test and be done with it.

  75. In addition, SIV’s idea that he will have to hold his nose and vote for Brownback shows the goofiness of libertarians who lean conservative rather than liberal (if one must hold one’s nose and lean one way or the other). Someone like Brownback is against abortion, contraception, pornography, in general freedom in the bedroom. But he is OK on cockfighting so he’s your man…Sheesh. More proof that conservatives have some f’d up priorities in life…

  76. Actually I’m not sure Brownback passes the test.
    I’m hoping he doesn’t.

    I’m still trying to understand how one can be liberal-(in the modern progressive sense)-AND
    libertarian. They seem mutually exclusive,to put it mildly.

    Animals are property in our culture.

  77. Isn’t antone ready to give up on politics?

    I’m almost there. I now think the best way for libertarians to spend their time is to build up the non-governmental aspects of society: family, charity, honest business, etc.

    But, I still can’t get past the seeming need to get involved in politics because “You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you.”

  78. Animals are property but they have’nt been property in the same sense as inanimate property for centuries. Again I ask you, why not use bestiality as your litmus if you really think a person should be able to do whatever they want to with their property?

  79. Who is saying they are inanimate property?

    One Step at a Time Ken, get your State-sanctioned same sex marriage legalized before you move on to
    trans-species marriage. I’m sure you and your “companion animal” can wait.

  80. I’m not the one that thinks we can do whatever we want to with animals. I think they are property, but certainly different than a chair or something. Being cruel to them, like cockfighting and bestiality, seems to be your philosophical gig. Not only that, but seemingly issues like who and how you have sex pale importance to you in the shadow of your single issue: to watch cocks go at it (again, maybe same sex marriage is your Close Second Issue).

  81. “if you are really a libertarian-anarchist, you should not vote.”

    “Cockfighting bans
    highlight the anti-liberty, minding other peoples business,yes even racist tendencies of Progressives.”

    “Someone like Brownback is against abortion, contraception, pornography, in general freedom in the bedroom. But he is OK on cockfighting so he’s your man…Sheesh.”

    You’d almost think there was someting else going on.

  82. Actually, as close as many elections are it would only take a relatively small number of voters to throw out the incumbent. Do this three or four times in a row and Liberty will be returned.

  83. “I now think the best way for libertarians to spend their time is to build up the non-governmental aspects of society: family, charity, honest business, etc.”

    This is the sharpest comment I have seen on H&R in months.

    Governments get involved in aspects of society where large numbers of people see a problem emerging. If these problems don’t emerge (or rather if the perception of them as problems doesn’t emerge), government is unlikely to get involved.

  84. Watching the Democrat(ic) scuffle, I’m just glad I’m sticking to calling the parties Team Blue and Team Red…

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