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Some interesting observations from Franklin Harris, down in the comment threads:

That [Ron] Paul placed higher in Michigan and Iowa(!) than in New Hampshire may be the best indication that the Ron Paul Revolution is a different demographic than the traditional libertarian demographic. And since I don't think these are people who are backing Paul because of a few old newsletters, this is probably a good thing. The question becomes then, can traditional libertarianism (cosmo, paleo, or otherwise) offer these folks anything that keeps them around? And, for what it's worth, judging by the grassroots Revolution's online presence, I'd say most of these people are socially cosmo-libertarian and economically paleo-libertarian.

"Socially cosmo-libertarian and economically paleo-libertarian"? Sounds a bit like this:

Incidentally, Harris' comment may be the first time I've seen someone use the term "cosmo-libertarian" (or "cosmotarian") as anything other than an insult. Not that its meaning has had much time to stabilize—a couple months ago, as far as I can tell, the word didn't exist at all. Unless you count this early usage:

cosmo

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  1. And, for what it’s worth, judging by the grassroots Revolution’s online presence, I’d say most of these people are socially cosmo-libertarian and economically paleo-libertarian.

    Yes, pander to ME!

    What’s my label, anyway?

  2. I don’t think you can say conclusively that Ron Paul did better in Iowa. More citizens voted for Ron Paul in New Hampshire. Less voters turned out in Iowa giving Paul a larger percentage of the Iowan vote.

    http://www.freestateproject.org/community/essays/2008_nh_primary_impact

  3. Is Ted Nugent a Paul supporter?

  4. Is Ted Nugent a Paul supporter?

    I doubt it, given Nugent’s foreign policy views. But I seem to remember him endorsing an LP candidate back when I lived in Michigan. If not an endorsement, then definitely some favorable attention.

  5. What the fuck is a ‘cosmo-libertarian’?

  6. Interesting on the social vs economic bit. The cosmos tend to be more libertine socially (end the drug war, end the police state). On the economic front the Ron Paul revolution is driven by goldbugs and people that have read up on Austrian economics, which are definitely representative of the paleo side of libertarianism.

    Maybe Ron Paul is popular because he does appeal to both of these groups. Too bad about the newsletters trying to grab the paleo-lib’s social side!

  7. Since I am an economic AND social libertarian can I just be called a libertarian without any stupid prefix?

  8. Nugent seems to be an excellent candidate for the Paul movement, but I don’t know enough detail about him. Are you saying you think he’s pro-war?

  9. I think “cosmo-libertarian” is a lot like “lifestyle libertarian.”

  10. Why do people have to put prefixes on everything? I don’t care about cosmoneopaleosuperduperlibertarianism. I don’t think you could get 5 people to give you the same definition of cosmo or paleo or neo or whatever libertarianism.

  11. P Brooks: Last I heard, Nugent was very pro-war. Of course, a lot of people have changed their minds about the war over the last couple years.

    Dan: Franklin is using it to mean “socially tolerant.” For a lot of people it’s just a broad smear-term.

  12. Why do people have to put prefixes on everything?

    ‘Cause thinkin’ is hard, Adamness.

  13. Gold is the people’s money! Paper is the banker’s and the government’s.

    FWIW: I’m socially conservative/economically libertarian.

    Lots of things tie into economics, like the Drug War. I’m anti drug war for the simple fact that it doesn’t work economically, not because I think people should do drugs.

  14. A cosmo-libertarian is a libertarian who reads Cosmo, such as Kerry or Nick. Matt reads Maxim, which just makes him a horny poser. Weigel doesn’t read magazines because “print is dead”, and Bailey, Sullum, and Doherty are too old to read any more because their eyes are so bad. Jesse doesn’t know how to read.

  15. Well, besides being a very long-term (forty years and counting) libertarian, I’m also one of the few linguists around this blog. And now I’m going to do some actual linguistics, by trying to nail down the origins and noting the spread of the word ‘cosmotarian’.
    I did find a good ‘definition’ in an earlier H&R posting:
    Bingo | January 10, 2008, 10:59pm | #
    cosmotarians are the coke-snorting limpwristers of the libertarian movement that are afraid of adversity and controversy. Spend most of their time attached to their macbooks typing up policy papers in their hip urban flat and riding their scooter to the local Whole Foods store. Would rather moan about the state of liberty in America than actively work to improve it.

    It seems to have been used on Lew Rockwell’s site, which is a place I don’t visit very often. This is because I find his arguments scary, and since I am, probably, by his lights, a raving statist, since I am Jewish and like to cook. I’m also anti-war, but Rockwell’s worldview doesn’t allow for that combination.
    If anyone can find a citation of ‘cosmotarian’ from before 2008 I’d appreciate it (not counting the one in the cute ad above).

  16. Charlie Daniels is nice, but I think David Allan Coe is better.

  17. I recall catching a cover of “Long-haired Country Boy” a while back by a couple of faux country boys (I think Travis Tritt and some other; they’re all kinda interchangeable now).

    The line “But I will take another toke” had been changed to “But I will tell another joke.”

    Totally disgusting, and an insult to Charlie Daniels. There is no one more fun to hang out with than a redneck, shit-kicking, beer-drinking toker. Dipping snuff and toking at the same time is a rush. One of them also showed me how to grind up all those pesky seeds and stems and add them to my dip. A nice contact buzz ensued.

    I tell my teens all time, because of the War on Drugs, “they” are trying to pretend that the 70s never happened.

  18. Jesse doesn’t know how to read.

    I have a weird feeling that there’s some meaning lurking behind those funny scribbles, something I should reply to.

  19. Interesting on the social vs economic bit. The cosmos tend to be more libertine socially (end the drug war, end the police state). On the economic front the Ron Paul revolution is driven by goldbugs and people that have read up on Austrian economics, which are definitely representative of the paleo side of libertarianism.

    Uh, no. Real live practicing Austrian economist here. Anti-war. Also self-identified “cosmopolitan.”

    If you think Austrian economics belongs on the “paleo” side, you haven’t read your Mises and Hayek. Mises was far more “cosmopolitan” than those who claim his name today. Read “Liberalism” to see why, as a start.

  20. Wekjjdsl, irn jusgt looiioo “fggfkj” hu miuun, Jesse?

  21. Interesting on the social vs economic bit. The cosmos tend to be more libertine socially (end the drug war, end the police state).

    I think all libertarians favor those things. Where I see the distinction is one of world-view. The cosmos seem to favor a one-world multi-culti world-view similar to neo-liberals, and tend tend to view libertarianism less as an end in itself than as a means to that end. We’re all going to be one, big happy family. Kind of like a big free-market based commune.

    The distinction between the cosmos and the more typical left-liberal seems to one of means, rather than end. They seem to accept the legitimacy of the leftist world vision, they just differ on how to achieve it.

  22. David Allan Coe is also more appropriate since he’s been accused of racism.

  23. Wekjjdsl, irn jusgt looiioo “fggfkj” hu miuun, Jesse?

    THEM’S FIGHTIN’ WORDS!

  24. Libertarianism needs to embrace American exceptionalism. One of the biggest problems with Lew Rockwell and his ilk is that they hate the policies of this country so much, they come accross as hating the country. The message needs to be positive. It needs to be “we are the greatest country with the greatest people in history, we just need to get the government out of people’s way and let them do what they do best; which is making a great country.”

    The Reason staff has the same problem although not to near the same degree. Outright patriotism is just not cool. What is the old saying “you attract more flys with honey than viniger”? There is a real bad habbit in the libertarian movement to view the rest of the country with distain. The Lew Rockwells of the world look at the country as a bunch of dupes taken in by big Jewish bankers and the like. The Reasonoids of the world have a bad habbit of looking at the country as filled with beer guzzling fundie morons who want to bomb every brown person as revenge for 9-11. Gee, is it a surprise that not many of the general population that libertarians so openly and often dispise don’t seem to support libertarians?

  25. David Allan Coe is also more appropriate since he’s been accused of racism.

    I noticed that the version of “If That Ain’t Country” that you linked to left out a certain controversial line from the original version…

    I think it’s a brilliant song either way, and not racist at all — though I wouldn’t say that about everything Coe has recorded.

  26. Steve: I’ll check it out! I’m a self-identified cosmo, but I’m afraid my knowledge about economics isn’t that deep. Got any specific titles to recommend?

  27. I think it’s a brilliant song either way, and not racist at all — though I wouldn’t say that about everything Coe has recorded.

    I used to be in a band with a guy who wound up as Coe’s fiddle player (don’t know if he’s still with him). You should hear the stuff that hasn’t made it to record. Believe me, Coe doesn’t leave any doubts about his views on race.

  28. Come on Jesse,

    Didn’t DAC do a whole record about prison life including a song lauding the virtues of homosexuals who can clean your cell and take care of you and the like? Coe is a real phychotic, I don’t think I would equate him with any movement.

  29. Jesse,
    I just grabbed the first Coe video I found. If you want one where he looks almost identical to Charlie Daniels, check out this 1983 cut of The Ride.

    I think it’s a brilliant song either way, and not racist at all — though I wouldn’t say that about everything Coe has recorded.

    Coe has actually cut some racist tracks on “underground” albums in the 80s. He refuses to play those songs anymore, and has personally denied charges of racism, but he has the Ron Paul problem of continuing to attract racist fans.

    BTW, you should catch him in concert if you get a chance. He’s still touring and he’s still very talented.

  30. Oh, I understand now. The “C” word is anything you want it to be!
    In other words, bullshit.

  31. What the fuck is a ‘cosmo-libertarian’?

    One who knows 15 different ways to please her man.

  32. With all apologies to VP, I reject the cosmo-libertarian distinction as meaningless.

  33. thoreau,

    And herself.

  34. Coe is a real phychotic, I don’t think I would equate him with any movement.

    Ain’t no movement that can hold ol’ Coe!

    Coe has actually cut some racist tracks on “underground” albums in the 80s. He refuses to play those songs anymore

    That’s the stuff I was referring to. I’ve heard, by the way, that on at least one occasion he broke his vow not to play them.

  35. Bingo:

    I’d start with Mises book Liberalism from the 1920s. Don Lavoie’s National Economic Planning: What is Left? from 1985 is hard to find, but another book along those lines, though less directly. Chris Sciabarra’s Total Freedom from 2001 is a reinterpretation of libertarianism that makes great use of Austrian economics in service of a more “cosmo” perspective.

    You might also read the work of some of the younger generation of Austrians who are writing on economic development issues (www.peterleeson.com for one). Chris Coyne’s excellent new book After War makes use of Austrian ideas (and others) to argue against US imperialism.

  36. I think it’s a brilliant song either way, and not racist at all — though I wouldn’t say that about everything Coe has recorded.

    You have heard all of Underground Album, right? I don’t think that leaves much doubt as to his intent. If it’s satire, it’s Andy Kaufman-level.

    * I do not expect you to be able to read this; it’s really for everyone else.

  37. David Allan Coe wrote the greatest country song ever. And if you don’t already know which one it is, too bad for you.

    ——

    Libertarianism needs to embrace American exceptionalism.

    This, unsurprisingly, is exactly backwards.

  38. “Libertarianism needs to embrace American exceptionalism.

    This, unsurprisingly, is exactly backwards.”

    Give people the finger and tell them how stupid they are for not agreeing with you. That will get them to vote for you.

  39. You have heard all of Underground Album, right?

    Like I said: That stuff is racist, and “If That Ain’t Country” is not. (Learn to read, dude!)

  40. I would have thought that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would be the most plausible cosmotarian politician.

  41. Like I said: That stuff is racist, and “If That Ain’t Country” is not. (Learn to read, dude!)

    “I’m an obtuse man, so I’ll try to be oblique. Your illiteracy has made me the whipping boy of this school district. I attended the school board meeting this morning, and they all had their little laugh. It was a feeding frenzy of cackling hyenas, and I was the wildebeest carcass.”

  42. Drat! I think I lied; Coe didn’t write it, he just recorded it.

    That’s what happens when you’re too lazy to take ten seconds to check your facts.

  43. P Brooks,

    I am told John Prine wrote that song.

  44. Steve Goodman wrote it. According to legend, Prine co-wrote it, thought it was junk, and told Goodman he could have it.

  45. “Steve Goodman wrote it. According to legend, Prine co-wrote it, thought it was junk, and told Goodman he could have it.”

    Prine was right. It is junk. I will take Ray Wiley Hubbard’s “Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother” over “You Don’t Have to Call Me Darlin” for cheap country parody anytime.

  46. The Reasonoids of the world have a bad habbit of looking at the country as filled with beer guzzling fundie morons who want to bomb every brown person as revenge for 9-11.

    Well, if the shoe fits…no, but seriously, I think more folks around here rightly distain people for acting as if they were, how did you put it…beer guzzling fundie morons…every time something bad happens that interrupts their regularly scheduled programs. “Beer-guzzling” and “fundie” both imply a level of commitment to something substantial that is apparently unachievable to most.

    Moron, on the other hand, is spot on. Is it wrong to have contempt for people who act contemptibly?

  47. Give people the finger and tell them how stupid they are for not agreeing with you. That will get them to vote for you.

    The unfortunate thing is that a large majority of the American electorate is stupid. The GPO and the Dems know it too. They hide it so much better than Libertarians do.

  48. Make that GOP, vice GPO. I have no idea what the printers think about American’s intelligence.

  49. “Moron, on the other hand, is spot on. Is it wrong to have contempt for people who act contemptibly?”

    Not necessarily, just don’t expect them to ever vote for you and have fun on the political fringes. Read your post and realize how you sound just like the moralizing scolds on the left and religous right. You are so fucking smug you assume everyone who disagrees with you is a moron rather than a reasonable person who reasonably diagrees with you. As long as libertarians continue to represent themselves as the guy you used to beat up in gym class, they will continue to be on the finges. It may be great for your sense of self rigousness, but it is damn lousy for a political movement.

  50. Also, for the record, I would say most people in this country are pretty damn smart. It is just that they spend their energies doing things like flying planes, treating sick people, fixing cars, cleaning the sewers and the like instead of ranting against the gold standard and US bases in Europe.

  51. My original complaint about embracing American Exceptionalism, John, stems from our “exceptionalism” creating situations like
    100,000 -plus dead Iraqis
    some unknown multiple of that number maimed
    four million or more displaced (ethnically cleansed) persons internally and externally……

  52. Not to mention a lot of virulent, moronic, ranting about Islamofascism…

  53. John: how do you explain Mike Huckabee’s numbers?

  54. P Brooks,

    Our exceptionalism also created things like a free Europe and a free South Korea. It is one thing to object to Iraq, something that I think history will show you are wrong on but time will tell. It is quite another to take your objection to Iraq and translate that to a complete denial of American exceptionalism and interventionism in general. The fact is that the US trades with and is dependent upon the rest of the world being reasonably stable and hopefully free. We have no choice but to try to do our best to ensure those things. How we do that is of course a hard question, but saying I don’t like Iraq therefore we should just go home everywhere is not an answer, it is a tantrum.

  55. “John: how do you explain Mike Huckabee’s numbers?”

    The evangelicals think he is their guy and don’t really pay a lot of attention to what he says. I think Huckabe is pure identity politics.

  56. I believe Charlie Daniels himself is the one who first turned the “toke” into joke, and changed the getting drunk and stoned part into people saying he’s crazy as a loon because he prays every day.

    And he really changed the lyrics to “Uneasy Rider.”

  57. John, if you think we’re traitors, just say so.

  58. “Not to mention a lot of virulent, moronic, ranting about Islamofascism…”

    Lets have a couple of fundies blow themselves up at the next burning man and kill a few hundred people and then see how much “virulent, moronic ranting” about fundementalist Christians goes on. People get pretty damned emotional when they are attacked. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be human.

  59. I didn’t expect to find any threads around here discussing the beginning of Iraqi reconciliation. I vaguely remember a thread on the surge working, but reconciliation was deemed a hopeless non-starter. Iraq could become the garden of eden causing Iranian youth to peacefully remake Iran, and oil could drop back to $50 a barrel and the fools around here will still maintain it was a mistake.

  60. You are so fucking smug you assume everyone who disagrees with you is a moron rather than a reasonable person who reasonably disagrees with you.

    Way to misread what I wrote. I guarantee you that if I thought everyone who disagreed with me was a moron, I would not hold the opinions I do today (which, odd as it must be for you, were different from the ones I’ve held in the past, primarily from paying attention to those I disagreed with).

    What I was saying in my post that unlike the “fundies” (and the beer-drinkers!) who have a commitment to an idea or an activity (and whom I have more respect for than most atheists like myself will generally admit), my contempt is reserved for the masses of people who discard their liberal/conservative/libertarian/fascist/jesus juice/whatever beliefs at the first sign of trouble, rally round the flag, and write off a generation of people to war and financial ruin because the president says it’s a good idea.

    I’m sorry I was trying to be oblique and not spell it out in such painful terms. I wasn’t making fun of people for their opinions that differ from mine…I was making fun of their inability to have more than a surface-felling commitment to those beliefs.

    When you can convince a guy that killing others/dying/spending money on a war in a foreign country that poses no threat to him is a really good plan…especially when that same guy was against the very same argument when the guy making it was named “Clinton”…do you call that “stupid”, or not? Cause I do, and I’m sorry that that hurts some people’s feelings.

  61. “What I was saying in my post that unlike the “fundies” (and the beer-drinkers!) who have a commitment to an idea or an activity (and whom I have more respect for than most atheists like myself will generally admit), my contempt is reserved for the masses of people who discard their liberal/conservative/libertarian/fascist/jesus juice/whatever beliefs at the first sign of trouble, rally round the flag, and write off a generation of people to war and financial ruin because the president says it’s a good idea.”

    People disagree with you about whether Saddam was a threat. Essentially you are saying that no one could have supported the war for right reasons. That is bullshit. People supported the war because they say Bin Ladin saying he was going to kill Americans and then doing it and they figured that since Saddam was and had been saying the same thing for 10 years that perhaps they should take him at his word to. You may not agree with that sentiment but people are not as stupid as you think they are.
    Further, I would rather have a practical public that is willing to change its ideology for what it considers good reason and be wrong once in a while than a fanatically principled public that will never change its principles regardless of reality. The last thing I want is a public that won’t discard its beliefs when reality dictates. No principle is right in every situation.

  62. There are at least 54,343 smart people in Michigan. That is how many people voted for Ron Paul. While chances are very good they did not agree with every position he holds, they were smart enough to realize he was the best candidate on the ballot. That means something.

    Are most people from Michigan stupid for voting for the other candidates? Well, frankly, yes. Either they are stupid because they believe the other candidates or they are stupid because they didn’t research enough about issues and voted for whose name they recognized. They are stupid either way. That doesn’t mean they can’t become smart and John is right that we should not just yell at them for being stupid, but we should try to educate them so they are no longer stupid. We were all stupid ourselves once.

    Replace “stupid” with a nicer word like “uninformed” or “mistaken” and we’ll get a lot farther a lot faster.

  63. War is pretty serious, though, John. People die and it costs a fortune. So a public that is easily fear-mongered into submission is not better than a principled minority that happens to be right. While it’s true that all principles are not right all the time, cooler heads must prevail, especially when the discussion is about war. There are people who still think the Iraq War is a good idea despite everything we know TODAY. These people ought to have their heads examined.

  64. Dan: Franklin is using it to mean “socially tolerant.” For a lot of people it’s just a broad smear-term.

    Personally, I think “cosmopolitan libertarian,” along with its various contractions, is better than somewhat awkward, less descriptive, and more loaded terms that have been used over the years: Beltway libertarians, left libertarians, lifestyle libertarians, neo-libertarians, etc.

  65. . . .not-libertarians.

  66. If you think Austrian economics belongs on the “paleo” side, you haven’t read your Mises and Hayek. Mises was far more “cosmopolitan” than those who claim his name today. Read “Liberalism” to see why, as a start.

    But in practice, you need only look at the heat Ron Paul has taken from some libertarians for his support of the gold standard. The gold standard (or at least free banking, which would probably tend toward gold) is good ol’ Mises-style Austrianism. But it was the cosmopolitans giving Ron Paul flack for supporting even a watered-down version of it.

  67. Re: Ted Nugent Endorses??
    There is a bit of confusion regarding whom Ted Nugent has endorsed and I can’t seem to find a definitive source for endorsement.

    Apparently he has endorsed either Fred Thompson or Mike Huckabee.

  68. If anyone can find a citation of ‘cosmotarian’ from before 2008 I’d appreciate it (not counting the one in the cute ad above).

    Not looking far beyond H&R, the earliest mention I could find was from crimethink commenting on this thread on December 7, 2007…

    Jesse Walker,

    Good point. I like how they imply that Reason, operating in DC and thus presumably run by the cosmotarian faction, is just warming up to Ron Paul now.

    IIRC, from the day he was rumored to be entering the race, you all were very friendly to Paul, however skeptical you were about his chances.

    It follows a discussion articulated by John C Jackson of why libertarians suddenly have to be either populist or cosmopolitan and not, you know, individualist.

  69. Franklin,

    Consider me one cosmo-libertarian and Austrian economist who has praised Paul’s stand to get the state out of the money business and done so precisely because it also helps de-fund the war machine. See my blog post here:

    http://hnn.us/blogs/comments/44523.html

    A revised and extended version will appear in the Jan-Feb issue of The Freeman.

  70. The cosmos seem to favor a one-world multi-culti world-view similar to neo-liberals, and tend tend to view libertarianism less as an end in itself than as a means to that end.

    I think this may be the most succinct summary of the emerging cultural split in libertarianism than anything else I have seen.

  71. Steve Horwitz | January 16, 2008, 10:51am | #
    Bingo:

    I’d start with Mises book Liberalism from the 1920s. Don Lavoie’s National Economic Planning: What is Left? from 1985 is hard to find, but another book along those lines, though less directly. Chris Sciabarra’s Total Freedom from 2001 is a reinterpretation of libertarianism that makes great use of Austrian economics in service of a more “cosmo” perspective.

    You might also read the work of some of the younger generation of Austrians who are writing on economic development issues (www.peterleeson.com for one). Chris Coyne’s excellent new book After War makes use of Austrian ideas (and others) to argue against US imperialism.

    Oh, for crying out loud, what ridiculous advice.

    Bingo, just go here:

    Ludwig von Mises Institute

  72. Prof Horwitz –

    SLU was one of the most fun places we traveled to for swim meets (srsly! we have a camp near Malone) – I went to Hamilton…

    anyways, Jason Briggeman at GMU (should be ABD by now) had some really interesting thoughts on Austrian ideas with formal methods, especially game theory… there’s some neat stuff like that out there, too! (as you know)

    cheers,
    VM (health and I/O, “micro”)

  73. “Cosmotarian” was coined in response to Virginia Postrel’s ridiculous definition of libertarianism: tolerant cosmopolitan. She specifically excluded Ron Paul from that elitist definition.

  74. “War is pretty serious, though, John. People die and it costs a fortune. So a public that is easily fear-mongered into submission is not better than a principled minority that happens to be right.”

    What if the principled minority is wrong? The old isolationists were acting on principle in arguing that we had no business fighting communism in the cold war, but they were dead wrong and we are a hell of a lot better off for doing it. The problem with principled minority groups is not when they are right it is when they are wrong and their principles prevent them from seeing it. The answer is that invervention is a bad thing except when it isn’t. You can’t have one overarching principle like “isolation” it doesn’t work. You just end up doing stupid things to preserve your principle.

  75. Consider me one cosmo-libertarian and Austrian economist who has praised Paul’s stand to get the state out of the money business and done so precisely because it also helps de-fund the war machine.

    Steve,

    Obviously, the cosmo/paleo distinction breaks down (at least in some areas) if you take it too far, and a good example of that is the cosmos who are Austrians as opposed to neo-classical economists. But I think the distinction can still tell us interesting things.

    Take the Iraq war: All paleos are anti-war. All pro-war libertarians are cosmos. But most cosmos are anti-war. So, being a pro-war libertarian seems to be a mutation that affects only libertarians with the cosmo gene, if you will. That may, or may not, be instructive.

    For my part, I don’t identify as either cosmo or paleo. I hold lots of cosmo positions (pro-choice, pro-immigration, generally skeptical of religion) and lots of paleo ones (e.g., Lincoln was a terrible president, school vouchers will ruin private schools, cosmo libertarians waste time talking to Washington’s political class).

  76. What if the principled minority is wrong? The old isolationists were acting on principle in arguing that we had no business fighting communism in the cold war, but they were dead wrong and we are a hell of a lot better off for doing it.

    Quite so, John, and that’s the ever fucking point. In both cases, the side that was wrong (which has no correlation to whose in the minority or what ideology they espouse) were wrong because they took leave of their senses and ignored facts on the ground that would have blunted the stab of their pre-formed biases.

    Look, during the Cold War, it was clear fairly early (late 1940’s) that the Soviets were going to be a nuclear power, and had already demonstrated themselves to be a military and production machine in spitting distance of American might and production capacity. They were a pretty obvious threat.

    On the other hand, Saddam’s Iraq at no point was credibly a threat to the US. End of story. Israel could have bombed them into the stone age with both hands tied behind their backs. We, in point of fact, did it with both hands tied and hopping on one leg.

    Neither the most extreme isolationist nor the most ravenous war-monger can change the plainly obvious facts that the USSR was a serious, perhaps existential, threat and Iraq never was either. Facts are supposed to guide a reasonable policy-making process, are they not?

  77. For my part, I don’t identify as either cosmo or paleo. I hold lots of cosmo positions (pro-choice, pro-immigration, generally skeptical of religion) and lots of paleo ones (e.g., Lincoln was a terrible president, school vouchers will ruin private schools, cosmo libertarians waste time talking to Washington’s political class).

    I’ve read Cosmo and I can verify that their positions are best.

  78. “Neither the most extreme isolationist nor the most ravenous war-monger can change the plainly obvious facts that the USSR was a serious, perhaps existential, threat and Iraq never was either. Facts are supposed to guide a reasonable policy-making process, are they not?”

    Of course you have to know the “facts” as they are. A lot of people disagreed with your assessment of the Soviets at the time. They were wrong but they were not, not counting the ones on the Soviet payroll, crazy. It only seems obvious in hindsight. It wasn’t so obvious in 1949. As far as Saddam goes, the CIA certainly claimed he was a threat. So did Bill Clinton and Al Gore in 1998. Go back and read what they said in 1998 in justification for Operation Dessert Fox, it is just as strong as anything Bush said. Further, Saddam had violated the 1991 ceasefire agreement and UN Resolution 1442 with impunity. We know now that oil for food was breaking down and giving Saddam and his European quizlings billions while killing the Iraqi people. Containment was also costing us billions. It couldn’t go on forever. We either had to pack up and go home and welcome Saddam back into the world community or invade. You may not agree with the decision but it wasn’t without justification. People did not take leave of their senses. They just didn’t agree with you. Further, we will never know what would have happened had we not invaded. You state with complete confidence that Saddam would never have been a threat. We will never know that. I doubt that Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abbu Abbas who were living under Saddam’s protection would have found something to do.

  79. A lot of people disagreed with your assessment of the Soviets at the time. They were wrong but they were not, not counting the ones on the Soviet payroll, crazy. It only seems obvious in hindsight.

    This the same Soviet Union that collapsed of its own internal contradictions? The one whose military might the CIA continually overestimated?

    Not quite so obvious, actually.

  80. Replace “stupid” with a nicer word like “uninformed” or “mistaken” and we’ll get a lot farther a lot faster.

    As they say in the multiple choice tests, pick the most correct answer.

    The typical voter is ________.

    A) Uninformed
    B) Mistaken
    C) STUPID
    D) Deceived

    Not politic, but accurate.

  81. John, how do you know the old isolationists were dead wrong? I’m not arguing that they weren’t but how do you know? It’s very possible that a rapidly expanding Soviet Union, unopposed, could have collapsed very quickly for the same reasons they eventually collapsed slowly. The quicker they expanded, the quicker they would have over-extended themselves.

    I think the isolationists were wrong, but that doesn’t make the prevailing position that was implemented the best position either just because it eventually (45 years later) won. Part of the Cold War involved us fighting in Vietnam which was wrong to do. The parts of the Cold War that meant propping up dictators in other countries was more harmful than if we had simply used capitalism and freedom as prevailing ideologies world-wide. The part of the Cold War that increased our nuclear strength and military might was a positive. The fearing majority has failed to recognize what worked and what did not and what has the best opportunity to prevail going forward.

  82. E) all of the above

    but for the written portion, explain the flaws of C, D, and E when advertising your message.

  83. Franklin writes:

    Take the Iraq war: All paleos are anti-war. All pro-war libertarians are cosmos. But most cosmos are anti-war. So, being a pro-war libertarian seems to be a mutation that affects only libertarians with the cosmo gene, if you will. That may, or may not, be instructive.

    Well put. I think the point that “all pro-war libertarians are cosmos, but most cosmos are anti-war” is an extremely important one and overlooked by the critics of the cosmos. The implication is that there’s NO reason to believe that someone who expresses cosmo views is pro-war, as most, I would agree, are not.

  84. “Cosmotarian” here.

    I think cosmo and paleo are relatively squishy terms and I probably wouldn’t use them in discussions that weren’t about political demographics, but here’s why if pressed I’ll call myself a cosmopolitan:

    I have no contempt for traditionally “paleo” emphases such as “life, liberty and property,” but to me, at a gut level, the most important thing is cultural liberty; that is, that individuals should be free to order their lifestyle choices however they please, based on their own inherited moral systems, or even in absence of any tradition, as a form of experimentation and invention. I do see libertarianism as a vehicle toward this end – you can call it fruity-tooty multi-culti wishy-washy namby-pamby if that’s how it strikes you, but to me all of this feels more like just another way of expressing the notion of radical individualism.

    Now, it strikes a chord with me personally because I have long been of the suspicion that social infrastructure is changing too quickly for cultural mores to adapt at their usual rate and remain effective. In this context, it seems frankly insane that the state should be allowed to go to bat for centralized standards (which are, after all, what regulatory bureaucracies of every stripe are ultimately being charged with doing). The only way to keep up with the pace at which civilization is reconfiguring itself, I think, is to throw it to the “free market of ideas” and let people experiment freely, see if someone devises a model for living together that people want to adopt of their own volition.

    The worst of all options (and the most banal, tedious and dismaying) would be to continue fighting a “culture war” in which at the inception of any issue, two sides with ludicrous, caricatured views of one another are automatically engaged in their own petty, points-scoring moral crusades before there is any opportunity to get the lay of the actual choices at stake. I really fear that a few more decades of this and America might be hopelessly maladapted.

    Now, all that being said, these represent merely an emphasis rather than a substantive ideological disagreement with textbook libertarianism. Does that make a whole separate faction or not?

  85. There’s a good argument that if the U.S. had not intervened in World War I, there would’ve been a negotiated settlement between the Entente and the Great Powers. And maybe no Soviet Union and no Nazi Germany.

    And no Oprah.

  86. but for the written portion, explain the flaws of C, D, and E when advertising your message.

    And that’s where the GOP and the Dems are better than us. I shouldn’t write for the Libertarian movement. Nor should many of the posters here. Honesty may be a virtue, but it doesn’t win elections.

  87. Well put. I think the point that “all pro-war libertarians are cosmos, but most cosmos are anti-war” is an extremely important one and overlooked by the critics of the cosmos. The implication is that there’s NO reason to believe that someone who expresses cosmo views is pro-war, as most, I would agree, are not.

    Of course, the other, less optimistic implication is that there may be something in the cosmo mindset that makes it more susceptible to the pro-war meme. What that is, if anything, I don’t know.

  88. I have no contempt for traditionally “paleo” emphases such as “life, liberty and property,” but to me, at a gut level, the most important thing is cultural liberty; that is, that individuals should be free to order their lifestyle choices however they please, based on their own inherited moral systems, or even in absence of any tradition, as a form of experimentation and invention.

    Here’s where I have a problem with that – the people who argue that culture is dynamic seem to assume that political institutions aren’t. Obviously, cultural conventions are prior to political institutions. Do your cultural values prize self-reliance, or a sense of entitlement? Do they give priority to the rights of individuals, or the prerogatives of the collective? And if your culture emphasizes entitlement and the prerogatives of the collective, how do you maintain political institutions that champion the individual?

    If you want to maintain political institutions that put priority on the rights of individuals, is it illegitimate to put some effort into maintaining the cultural conventions that support the political institutions?

    I think it’s pretty clear political institutions reflect the cultures that create them. If you allow your culture to become indifferent to individual liberty, your political institutions will surely follow…

  89. Pig Mannix,

    I disagree with the flow of causality you posit there. I’d argue that political institutions, more often than not, follow from the economics of the society – here taken to mean the material conditions and the technological infrastructure; literally what people are doing to survive, thrive and profit in a society. Cultural mores develop over a long period of time in response to the economic and political realities of society, and while more established mores have the effect of inertia on political institutions (and political institutions have the power of coercion over economic behavior), I tend to take a dim view of this sort of inertia.

    To come at this from another angle — the idea that culture has to be husbanded just so in order for freedom to flourish politically strikes me as an application of the precautionary principle, and one that begs the question at that.

  90. How about just traditional Conservative.

    I don’t even fully understand or care what a liba-whatever is. I just want my party back.

  91. Pig Mannix,

    Before I forgot, another issue that I ought to raise is that it’s absolutely by all means appropriate to promote your particular cultural values. I simply think it of more utility for individuals to do so non-coercively, by persuasion and example rather than through legislation.

    And to clarify my earlier remarks: I would contend that much of what plagues our society right now are the artifacts of assumptions about modern, American economic life left by poor legislative decisions in previous eras, and coercive regulation that Americans simply take for granted. It is this that I want to see Americans liberated to think outside the confines of.

  92. “but to me, at a gut level, the most important thing is cultural liberty; that is, that individuals should be free to order their lifestyle choices however they please, based on their own inherited moral systems, or even in absence of any tradition, as a form of experimentation and invention. I do see libertarianism as a vehicle toward this end”

    WELL SPAKE, hale! QFT!

    thank you!!!

  93. Since I am an economic AND social libertarian can I just be called a libertarian without any stupid prefix?

    No, you have to have the prefix. It’s the new rules. And don’t blame me, I just work here.

  94. Daniels is pro-war. Not a paleo.

  95. I’d argue that political institutions, more often than not, follow from the economics of the society – here taken to mean the material conditions and the technological infrastructure; literally what people are doing to survive, thrive and profit in a society.

    I’d like to see an example of that. I’d point out slavery wasn’t abolished due to complaints about it’s economics. There were other values at play. Likewise, smoking bans – actually they’re generally detrimental to the interests of business owners, but the cultural attitudes toward it have changed.

    When my grandparents were young (pre-depression), most people found it humiliating to accept charity. Now most people regard some sort of government handout as a birth-right.

    Those attitudes and practices didn’t change because of the economics – sometimes they changed in a manner that would have been counter to economic logic. They changed because of cultural attitudes.

    Yes, economics are an influence on those things, but it’s rarely a primary factor. Congress can generally pass another tax, without much regard for it’s effect economically, with nary a peep from the public. If they tried to legalize child prostitution, I guarantee you, the public would react way out of proportion to it’s economic effects.

  96. Daniels is pro-war. Not a paleo.

    Daniels’ views have evolved over the years. But I was referring more to the character in his song than to the singer himself.

  97. Pig Mannix,

    I intend to reply to that at length tomorrow afternoon. Tonight, I’m a bit busy, but check back if you would, I’d like to continue this discussion.

  98. I’m pretty sure that the “cosmotarians” are those libertarians who ran the real-life Kramer for mayor of New York a few years ago.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  99. Not looking far beyond H&R…

    James Kirchick’s “Angry White Man” article on January 8th, 2008 refers to the Cato Institute folks as “urbane” and the reason staff as “libertines”:

    https://reason.com/blog/show/124281.html

    The “urbane” image may be influenced by an article by Christopher Hayes’ “Ron Paul’s Roots” article in The Nation on December 6, 2007, which refers to “cosmopolitan libertarians, centered around Cato”. It’s not clear from the article if the phrase is based on a quote from Justin Raimondo of antiwar.com.

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071224/hayes

    And the “libertines” image goes back to an article in the Washington Post on 12/23/2007:

    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/124071.html

    This is also the article Virginia Postrel was alluding to when she said that Matt and Nick are cooler than she is.

  100. I’d like to see an example of that. I’d point out slavery wasn’t abolished due to

    complaints about it’s economics.

    In some ways, though, it was. One of the arguments employed by northern abolitionists was

    that slavery was a grave threat to the white worker, since “everybody knows that slaves work

    cheaply.” However, an even better illustration is the Civil War itself, which was most

    emphatically started over economic differences between North and South. Even more

    importantly, however, the reason the Union won was economic. Had the Civil War taken

    place forty, fifty years before, the South might have fought the North to a stalemate using

    the same methods that the American revolutionaries did. The reason for the difference is

    economic. Not only had the gap widened between the kinds of arms available to an industrial

    army and the kind available to rural conscripts, in that time the railroad had also

    significantly changed the calculus of troop movement. In this way, the course of “states’

    rights” – a notion whose wax and wane has had enormous cultural consequences – was determined

    by the outcome of economics and technology.

    Other conspicuous examples: the effect of television upon presidential elections; the

    relationship between public acceptance for the idea of womens’ political rights to the

    presence of women in the industrial workforce; the failure of Soviet authorities to create a

    “communist man” despite possessing an immense amount of influence over Russian culture and an

    insistence on a cultural theory (“false consciousness”) to explain that entire region of

    human behavior; observe, also, the curious relationship between fascistic impulses and

    economic recession in industrialized countries, which is a worrisome example of the

    relationship between material and culture.

    Probably, you’ve already noticed how the claim I’m actually making differs from the one it

    sounds as though I am making. I most emphatically don’t mean that people invariably follow

    their immediate dollars-and-cents interests. When I say “economic,” I mean what Marvin Harris

    meant by the term “infrastructure”; essentially, I mean technology and the ways it’s used,

    and the way that the material requirements of populations determine those uses. Centralized authority, for example, has its origins in the early days of agriculture, when large-scale public works were occurring for the first time (i.e. complex irrigation systems) and food surpluses being created that could sustain professional fighting classes. Of course, everybody’s heard this story and it doesn’t explain how the theory applies to the modern era, which is flush with free-floating culture and often seems in thrall to it.

    Actually, that’s part of the problem I’m citing. While I maintain that economics and technology are determining conditions (and culture, for the most part, only the means by which we cope with and rationalize changing conditions), I am not optimistic about the speed at which we adapt to them. For example, I am not entirely convinced that culture is fully adapted to the ubiquity of cars, and they’ve been around ninety odd years? Ninety years is, in historical terms, if not the blink of an eye then certainly no more than a fitful catnap. And cars may not even be the most significant change to the infrastructure of Western society in the last hundred years – I’m betting that the most significant changes are all more recent than that.

    Culture has immense power on a short time-frame – well, historically short. Long in terms of an individual human experience, but short in terms of a couple of consecutive ones. It took twenty years for whatever conditions do so to transform a proud, welfare-dodging populace into one hungry for entitlements. That’s twenty New Years eves, twenty-six or so human gestational periods, twenty years of technological process at our breakneck twentieth century pace, and five presidential terms for rhetoric to re-pretzel itself in. So don’t think that I’m dismissing culture. I just think that the roots of freedom in America – for better and likely for worse – aren’t ultimately the product of what we think of as our norms and mores, but of the specific conditions under which we carried out our revolution two hundred years ago. Our actual norms and mores, being inertial forces, are a hodgepodge of artifacts from different eras of civilization (for only two examples, our societal notion about childhood as a time marked out for innocence descends from Victorian parenting, whereas the liberal moral crusade against nuclear power still bears the markings of the wealthy, postwar period from which it originates), but – and this is what I consider significant – few were dreamt of by people who knew anything of the possibilities afforded to us by the technology of the present.

    Finally, I would argue that these new conditions are potentially friendlier to libertarian, decentralist and anarchist impulses than any of those in the twentieth century were, and that we Americans would be likely to discover that if we once again directed serious inquiry to the structure of our culture.

  101. Ehh, forgive that formatting. I typed that up in notepad so I wouldn’t lose it to a capricious browser, and it appears not to have enjoyed its time on the clipboard.

  102. Reason is so shameless it would put “Ron Paul’s Toothpaste” as a headline just to get more page hits.

  103. What the fuck is a ‘cosmo-libertarian’?

    A man who’s not afraid to suck a bit of dick now and then.

  104. Cosmo paleo – what? I dont give a crap about this liba what-not I just want some mofo to stop the mess that is Washington and I like nut jobs…

    RON PAUL!

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