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In their cover story for Politics, Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie assuage nervous libertarian voters by promising them that a more glorious future awaits us all, regardless of who takes control of the White House, the Congress or even the Supreme Court this fall. Cultural libertarianism, after all, is a growing force in America.

The full article, in PDF format, can be read here.

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  1. Optimism is a good thing, but must be tempered with reality. Too many people want libertarianism to apply to them and authoritarianism to apply to everyone else. Sadly, the ward heeler is a very effective political model–it’s not difficult to sell the notion of a free lunch.

    I think libertarianism needs to be marketed in connection with American traditions and ideals, and not sold as a radical new idea.

  2. I really think it is dangerous to begin including people like Bill Maher in libertarianism. Sure, he is socially a libertarian but driving a wedge between economic and social freedoms is counterproductive and a wrong way to look at freedom IMHO. The last thing we need is a group of people modeling their libertarianism after people like Maher and completely watering down the term. Isn’t this what happened to the term liberalism???

  3. I like the pro-activity of Matt and Nick’s attitudes.

  4. When we look at the two major parties, we feel as Saddam Hussein must have felt while gazing upon his sons Uday and Qusay: deeply disappointed, though for very different reasons in each case.

    Huh? Whose idea was that sentence, Matt or Nick?

  5. I second Ali’s call for the responsible party. Whomever it was must fess up and serve their rime in Analogy Time-Out…

  6. Can we please stop throwing around Maher’s name as a “libertarian” just because he is a high-profile celeb that says that word once in a while?

    Other than that, a good article. I don’t share your optimism, but I hope you’re right.

  7. Serve there time…

    *hangs head and mutters* Stupid joe’s law…

  8. “their” not “there” taktix 🙂

  9. “their” not “there” taktix 🙂

    I got that right the first time. Damn my lack of consciousness on Mondays!

  10. The last thing we need is a group of people modeling their libertarianism after people like Maher and completely watering down the term.

    Too late…

  11. I don’t see it at all. The idea that government should stay out of our personal affairs is growing, which is good, but at the same time, the idea that government should be doing more interfering in our economic lives is on the rise. Healthcare is a good example. How many of the new “cultural” libertarians are in favor of centralized welfare/socialist healthcare? Nearly all of them I suspect.

    These guys say they are against big intrusive government only because Bush is in office. Put Obama or Clinton in office, and government will once again be their savior.

  12. This is nice. Libertarians must make it clear that theirs is a message of hope and optomism. Its very difficult given the fact that so much of its rhetoric is about pointing out the fallacy of many policy decisions, but so long as you emphasize the positives of the alternative Libertarianism might evolve into a truly relevent movement….again…for the first time…however you see it.

  13. That’s right stephen. The other problem I see is that libertarians are predominantly cynical and negative. They say what shouldn’t be there? But be replaced by what, is what they don’t say. I do not think it is enough to say “well, you figure it out. You’re free to do so.” That doesn’t cut it for many people. For example, it would be nice to see a libertarian oriented (somehow) relief organization, etc.

  14. replace “?” with “.”

  15. “libertarian oriented (somehow) relief organization”

    The makings of an Onion article exist in that statement.

  16. Healthcare is a good example. How many of the new “cultural” libertarians are in favor of centralized welfare/socialist healthcare? Nearly all of them I suspect.

    And all of them blind to the dynamic, already playing out before their eyes, that once the state starts paying for your healthcare, it starts regulating aspects of your personal life that affect your health.

  17. JLM- Yes :-), but, seriously, in the general public eye: “libertarian=white, racist, male, wealthy… bastard”. Let alone “right-wing, extremist, gun-loving, heartless, selfish” and with the like of the ARI, also “neoconish”.

  18. Yes, good point Ali, but I couldn’t resist the snark.

    You left out “Bill Maher-ish”. Oh wait, that rumor seems to be coming from within…..

    Damn! There I go again.

  19. For example, it would be nice to see a libertarian oriented (somehow) relief organization, etc.

    Uhh, hello? Institute For Justice?

    I can think of no better example of the old axiom, “a hand up rather than a hand out.”

  20. I wish a lot of this article were true, but it isn’t. The central problem is that 90% of the American people (at least), regardless of party, feel that when something “bad” happens, the government should “do” something. After all, why do we pay taxes?

    Somewhat related is the continuing surge of nanny statism on both the right (war on crime, war on drugs) and the left (tobacco, political correctness, campaign “reform”), which often converge (endless obsession over sex offenders, prostitution, etc.). I wish that people didn’t vote for this sh*t, but they do.

    As for Ron Paul, well, he has a driver’s license, but that’s about all I can say for him. Much of Paul’s libertarianism, if stripped to the roots, is old-fashioned southern “states’ rights.” This is a guy who thinks that the Civil War was the War of Northern Aggression.

    I’d love to see a candidate who really believed in reducing the size of government get some traction, but I’m sorry, I don’t see any signs of it. In 1980 Ronald Reagan tried to tell farmers that they should want a “free market.” They shouted him down, and Ronnie got the message. In 1986 he bragged that his administration had paid out more farm subsidies than all previous administrations put together! (No, he didn’t adjust for inflation. Ronnie never did the math. He had accountants for that.)

  21. Taktix: Never heard of it. Actually, now that I think about it, yes, I have, but forgot about it… which tells you something, not only about me, but about IJ, too.

  22. As for Ron Paul, well, he has a driver’s license, but that’s about all I can say for him. Much of Paul’s libertarianism, if stripped to the roots, is old-fashioned southern “states’ rights.” This is a guy who thinks that the Civil War was the War of Northern Aggression.

    Not that I fully disagree with you, Alan, but I think you’re painting with a pretty broad brush. I also find it a bit difficult for a guy from a Pittsburgh suburb to support “old-fashioned states’ rights.”

  23. “A more glorious future awaits us all” in the off-world colonies. — Some blimp

  24. Taktix,

    Not only from Pitt, but he went to Gettysburg College.

    Federalism and “States Rights” are different things, even if they have a lot of overlap.

  25. “When we look at the two major parties, we feel as Saddam Hussein must have felt while gazing upon his sons Uday and Qusay: deeply disappointed, though for very different reasons in each case.”

    Who cares? But it sure was great seeing Saddam’s sons all streched out naked on a granite slab. The best thing the Iraq war did was kill those two child-raping bastards.

    Why does everyone forget that?

  26. The best thing the Iraq war did was kill those two child-raping bastards.

    And their Pa, lets not forget.

    And thousands of violently retrograde religious extremists and crypto-Nazis.

  27. Let’s not forget all the children who might have grown up to become religious extremists.

  28. The idea that government should stay out of our personal affairs is growing

    I wish I could believe this, but I don’t.

    As much as some people complain about the PATRIOT Act, “security” and “terrorism” are now magic words that shut down rational thought and make people accept any intrusion. In the name of health, it makes sense to people to let the government ban transfats and micromanage their lives. There’s no meaningful way that the Drug War is loosening up. And three little words: for the children.

    Now, yes, there are some young people who snark about authority and like to watch South Park and Adult Swim. The horrible truth, though? They don’t matter.

    They don’t vote or lobby when they think like this. Ten years later, they’ll get “serious” and turn into soccer moms and dads who’ll vote for more and new intrusions into people’s personal lives.

    “Cultural libertarians” is about as meaningless a term as “cultural marxists” or “cultural centrist pro-trade pro-regulation left-centrists”. It’s an attempt to slap a political label on people who don’t actually relate to the politics that label describes (or even to each others’ politics!) based on tenuous social signifiers.

    In the sense of absurd optimism, it’s the new “liberaltarians”.

  29. “Cultural libertarians” is about as meaningless a term as “cultural marxists”

    No, “cultural libertarians” is a meaningful as “cultural Marxists”. The object of cultural marxism is to erode and undermine the relationships and loyalties that have traditionally competed with loyalty to the state, or the collective in general, disarming resistance to political and economic Marxism. A not entirely satisfying, but still useful, description of it can be found here.

    Interestingly, cultural libertarianism, except for it’s stated goals, is in practice almost identical to cultural Marxism. What does that tell you?

  30. Cultural libertarianism is fine if you have a nice gig at Cato. For those of us getting tazed on a regular basis it lacks bite.

  31. What does that tell you?

    that paranoia is, like, a drag, man?

  32. Interestingly, cultural libertarianism, except for it’s stated goals, is in practice almost identical to cultural Marxism. What does that tell you?

    That the cultural Marxists are kicking our ass?

  33. The Monkey Cage has an interesting takedown of Gillespie and Welch.

  34. a world hurtling toward individualized, bottom-up business and
    culture.

    Yeah, except for the parts that are owned by giant corporations. Which libertarians do not in general grasp the nature of.

    it was only Ron Paul who said…. “I don’t want to run your life,” Paul
    says. “I don’t want to run the economy. … I don’t want to run
    the world.”

    Yup. And sometime soon, we’re gonna have hundreds, hell no tens of thousands, of politicians running for president, who don’t want to run the economy and don’t want to run the world.

    Because we all know that people who want to run the world never run for president. It’s a historical fact.

    the smart party will
    bring the troops home from Iraq (and places
    like South Korea, while we’re at it)

    Yeah, just like Dr. Ron said, right?

    I seem to recall his foreign policy being one of the boat anchors that sank his little life raft, way early on in the game. But never mind, we’re talking about the future here. Anything is possible. And some day, the text of this article will be cast in gold.

    With Hispanics making up about
    55 percent of all immigrants and an everincreasing
    percentage of the voting public
    …..

    we’re going to end up voting to let them all in sooner or later anyway, because there will be enough of them already here to do that.

    But in the long run — and maybe even the short run — it’s not the Mexicans who are likely to be the real problem. But this is a topic for another thread on another day.

    Yup, must have been some really good shit they were smoking when they wrote this.

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