I Got Blisters on My Fingers!

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Mike Gravel sings "Helter Skelter." If the LP nomination battle actually does come down to Gravel and Bob Barr, it'll make Ron Paul vs. Russell Means look like Al Gore vs. Bill Bradley.

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  1. This is as good a place as any to post my follow-up to my incredulousness that Justin Raimondo would bother to show up in a thread to defend John McCain against Matt Welch.

    Apparently, Raimondo has an anti-Welch article in The American Conservative now, so maybe he was just trying to drum up interest in his little pissing match with Welch, and didn’t realize that it made him look like a stupid cocksucker to make the argument that Welch is a neocon in the context of defending John McCain.

    I consider it pretty much prima facie evidence that if you take time from your day to interfere in a Welch lambasting of McCain, it must be because you are neocon scum. So that would make Raimondo the neocon, wouldn’t it?

    Now that we’ve had accusations of neoconness all around, can we drop the intramural libertarian BS and get back to the important business of hating John McCain without further pointless interference?

  2. Hear, hear fluffy.

    When I read Justin’s comments, my jaw literally dropped.

    At first I thought it was somebody else trying to discredit Justin by making intemperate posts under his name.

    Yes, Rothbard was treated shabbily by the Cato institute.

    Yes, most of the editors and writers of Reason hold significantly unlibertarian positions on war and social issues.

    So what? Attack the arguments and not the men.

  3. Tarran, maybe Justin has been waiting to smite Welch, but every post Welch makes it about how McCain sucks – and Justin got tired of waiting and hitched up his trousers and said, “Well, I guess I’ll just attack Welch for going after McCain then!”

    I mean, it’s just silly. “How dare you attack John McCain! You believe in public education!” Huh?

  4. Where did he actually defend McCain? The comments I saw looked more like he was attacking Welch.

  5. He said that Welch’s criticisms of McCain weren’t credible because Welch was a liberal.

    He did not say, “McCain is a jerk, but so are you, Welch!” He said, “No one should believe what you are saying about McCain because you are a jerk.”

  6. “If the LP nomination battle actually does come down to Gravel and Bob Barr”

    What a choice: a reject from the socialist left wing of the DP and a reject from the authoritarian right wing of the RP.

    This is like a race for “Libertarian Pundit of the Year” between Paul Krugman and Ann Coulter.

  7. Mike Gravel is the hero of America!

  8. Where did he actually defend McCain? The comments I saw looked more like he was attacking Welch.

    The enemy of my enemy . . . .

  9. Yes, most of the editors and writers of Reason hold significantly unlibertarian positions on war and social issues.

    Notwithstanding the always contentious issue of what a real libertarian should believe on any issue, I think that is a pretty bold and indefensible statement on its face. I mean, most and significantly unlibertarian? I’d be interested in seeing, first, what is the libertarian position on some social or war-related issues, and then a list of which editors hold views significantly different from that. Even a single issue, with most editors mildly different would be impressive. Seriously, if you’re going to take such a broad swipe at people you ought to back it up.

  10. To be honest, making up names like ‘Stato’, ‘Kochtopus’ and ‘(T)reason’ has not made Lew Rockwell and his circle more convincing in my mind. Rather it has diminished the force of their arguments.

    I mean come on, I’m a Rothabrdian anarchist, for chissake. I’m biased to agree with Lew Rockwell and Justin Raimodo, and even I am wincing and wishing they would stop shooting themselves in the foot.

    Rothbard could pull off making the puerile comments because he was witty and there was substance to his blistering attacks. Lew Rockwell and Raimodo are capable of writing really powerful arguments.

    These tantrums are fucking childish. I am increasingly agreeing with John Kennedy’s diatribes against what the rank opportunism of what he dismissively calls Movementarians

  11. Warren Ellis blogged this video, too, although he seems to think Gravel is already the LP nominee.

  12. None of these explanations suffice.

    I say “you would have more credibility if you…” to supposed limited government conservatives in Obama and Hillary threads all the time but that does not mean I support either, in fact the exact opposite. It just seems that the defending McCain argument is taking his statements out of context. If he has supported McCain elsewhere I’d like to know, he seemed to be attacking Welch for supposedly supporting similar stuff that McCain advocates.

    That said, this Reason/Rockwell slapfight is annoying. Rockwell didn’t come clean on the newsletters and did so in an ugly vulgar fashion. Reason rode the Paul wave and threw him under the bus. They also didn’t spearhead the newsletter thing, when they hinted at knowing about it, so I had to hear it from Kirchick which was annoying. Reason tries to hard to make us the abuse shelter for log cabin Republicans it seems sometimes and their elitist whining about Paleos, who are our closest allies, will surely keep us at .5%. It just seems like a pissing contest to be top dog, like if Rush and Hannity fought on air.

  13. Brian,

    To me if you support a standing army, you are holding an unlibertarian postion. If you support the notion of a central bank, you are holding an unlibertarian position. Most of the reason staff support the idea of government-operated roads, financed through taxation which is unlibertarian. Most of the reason staff support eminent domain for public goods, which is unlibertarian.

    I think 50% of the staff of Reason supported the Iraq war. The Iraq war was absolutely unjustified from a purist libertarian perspective.

    Again, please note that I am just applying the idea that it is wrong to aggress against innocent people to these issues to arrive at the libertarian position.

    However, I recognize that most people think that society is dependent on some degree of compulsion directed at innocents. Say you want to do away with a state-run court system, and most people, and these are decent people, think that this means a return to might makes right barbarism.

    I disagree with this position, but recognize that people can be wholly libertarian and still believe in a non-libertarian thing like a court system that is a territorial monopoly.

    When Radley Balko supports the idea of a police force that has a monopoly on law enforcement, he may not be following a ‘truly libertarian’ path, but that does not mean that his work on police brutality suddenly became worthless.

    The main point that I am trying to make here is not the denigrate the Reason staff but to point out that yes, reasonable people can have disagreements, and even significant disagreements. But, and this is important, name calling is not going to make things better.

    Ludwig von Mises made it a point to always attack ideas rather than the man. He went so far as to be kind to his opponents (even helping those who opposed him ideologically get university posts). Lew Rockwell would do well to follow Mises example.

  14. I lasted 51 seconds before my brain started to ooze out my ears. That was positively Shatner-esque, and NOT in a good way . . .

  15. tarran | April 2, 2008, 5:47pm | #

    I agree with much of your comments. I do have a hard time reading Lew’s blog from time to time because the Limbaugh and Huffington post like nicknames. It gets really old real fast and how are we going to get any converts if they don’t know what the hell you are talking about with the use of inside jokes and nicknames?

  16. re: Raimondo… OUCH!

    i’d made my mind up to let my Reason subscription slide long before the Paul fiasco, but installing Welch as editor is a terrible mistake, and Raimondo has nailed it. i mean, i love Jacob’s writing and the coverage/support of Thomas Szasz, but this is a truly sad time for Reason. i wish them well, and they may succeed in opening the eyes of some of the drug-taking crowd (as they did me, back in the day), but things are not looking good. thanks for the good times, less so for the bad.

  17. tarran,

    Ok, now I think I understand your point. It seems to me that your definition of “unlibertarian” is more “un-anarchist” (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) but, that goes to the difficulty in deciding exactly what a “libertarian” position is. For me, I wouldn’t describe supporting a court system and a police (at least in theory, not the one we have today in practice) as “unlibertarian” but if you do, then your original statement would indeed be true so I can respect that, if not entirely agree with it. I guess I would think you take a rather extreme view of the definition of “libertarian” and while I wouldn’t use that definition myself, I’m not necessarily hostile to good arguments for positions that might seem “extreme” — if that makes any sense… and even if it doesn’t.

    reasonable people can have disagreements, and even significant disagreements. But, and this is important, name calling is not going to make things better.

    I certainly do agree with you on that.

  18. Which would, in turn, look like Ross Hagen vs. L. Ron Hubbard.

  19. Jesus fucking christ. Does the Libertarian party absolutely have to allow itself to be associated with that lunatic?

  20. I made it to the 1:57 mark…ouch. I believe that Gravel could single-handedly put a final nail in the coffin of the LP….

  21. Raimondo and Rockwell don’t seem all that libertarian to me. They seem like old-fashioned authoritarian conservatives — they laud capitalism in principle, but they hate the cultural and social openness that free markets allow. Their obsessive tirades against social deviancy and their ugly race-baiting and jew-baiting are antithetical to the individualist “live and let live” spirit of real libertarianism. What exactly is “libertarian” about them?

  22. Daze,

    OK you’re in strawman territory.

    You realize that Justin Raimodo is openly homosexual, right?

    You realize that Lew Rockwell has written multiple essays against attempts to legislate social conservatism?

    There are criticisms that can be levelled against them, but right-wing authoritarianism is definitely not one of them.

    True, Rockwell is a social conservative, but insofar that he has a Hayekian view that “conservative” institutions such as churches are the result of consensus building and the give and take of social interactions, and that such institutions should not be cast of lightly. However, there is a great deal of difference between someone saying everyone would benefit from going to church and making people go to church by force. The authoritarian is a fan of the latter, and wouldn’t stop at the former position.

  23. Good Gravy!

    That was…that was…I don’t have the words, either.

  24. Yikes, as soon as I hit “submit” I regretted posting. I try never to post angry or attribute dishonorable motives to people I disagree with, and I sure screwed up that time. My apologies to Rockwell & Raimondo and the likeminded.

  25. There’s “unlibertarian” in the sense of “not libertarian enough to be a credible member of the movement or party,” and “unlibertarian” in the sense of not supporting individual liberty.

    Most people who think of themselves as “libertarian” in the first sense (and I include myself), hold one or more “unlibertarian” views in the second sense. This is because the upfront assumption is that a movement or party “libertarian” is someone who believes that government (coercion) is a necessary evil and will tolerate some degree of it, but wants to minimize it far more than those who do not think of themselves as “libertarian,” although perhaps somewhat less than those who think of themselves as “anarchist.” In other words, coercion is generally bad, individual liberty is generally good, but there is a very limited set of times and circumstances, when force is both expedient and required to get an urgently necessary thing done. All the arguments among libertarians seem to come out of the struggle to determine how big that set of exceptions should be, and what kinds of things it should include.

    I don’t think you have to be much of a purist libertarian to oppose the Iraq War. The neocon justification that libertarians must spread liberty throughout the world by aggressing against tyrants (in the process, making our own part of the world that much “safer” for liberty) is a trap, no more or less silly than the paradoxes used by Captain Kirk to confuse the various tyrant-computers that he and his Enterprise crew encountered at times in the various Star Trek episodes (speaking of “shatner-esque”). Freedom can’t be bestowed on those who haven’t earned it and don’t understand it. We may temporarily liberate foreigners from one tyrant, but they will succumb to another unless and until they themselves want it and know how to get and keep it. Don’t look now, but we are having problems with that last part, ourselves. Not even to consider the impoverishment, injury, and death of so many innocents in Iraq, which our intervention has caused directly or indirectly, the war has also served as the impetus for our government to constrain more of our OWN liberties and confiscate even more of our labor and property. Thus, more force is used in aggression against foreigners but also in our government’s aggression against its own people. As net aggression rises, net freedom falls: a clearly unlibertarian result regardless of one’s level of libertarian ideological purity.

    Tarran wrote, “To me if you support a standing army, you are holding an unlibertarian postion. If you support the notion of a central bank, you are holding an unlibertarian position. Most of the reason staff support the idea of government-operated roads, financed through taxation which is unlibertarian. Most of the reason staff support eminent domain for public goods, which is unlibertarian.”

    For me, the above gets closer to issues that might separate the purist libertarians from those who promote a softer line. Any particular self-professed libertarian might be weak on one or two issues and still be, on the whole, an outstanding example of a libertarian. For myself, for instance, I don’t agree that it is necessary or even often desirable for the state to build and maintain roads, BUT I tolerate the situation and don’t go out of my way to avoid using public roads. I vehemently disagree with eminent domain, on the other hand, and its bastard stepchild, asset forfeiture. My level of tolerance for such things is very low, while my level of outrage high. Whenever there is no good alternative route going in my direction, I might choose to travel a road that was, in whole or in part, dependent on land or right-of-way that were acquired by eminent domain, but such a thing never sits well with me, and I do what I can to convince the powers that be to avoid using that particular tool. I will not knowingly, however, derive benefit from property that was seized under civil asset forfeiture, or for failure to pay taxes. You have to draw a hard line somewhere!

    All the above being said, if someone takes markedly unlibertarian positions (in the second sense) on too many issues, can he or she be credible in self-describing as “libertarian” (in the first sense)? It would seem to me that someone who supported the Iraq War, who thinks the government ought to be building roads and taxing for their construction and support, who supports a central bank, a standing army, and eminent domain, had at least better support only the most minor versions of such things, or else not be credible as any kind of “libertarian” (in the first sense) at all. Worse, to tolerate or support all of those things in the knowledge that they — not to mention current levels of their use in our modern society — are “unlibertarian,” is to be a statist in libertarian clothing, fooling nobody but perhaps oneself and others who are not paying attention.

  26. What the shit?

  27. That said, this Reason/Rockwell slapfight is annoying.

    Oh, I dunno, it kind of livens up the place…

    The really funny part is, between the two of them, Reason and Rockwell probably don’t represent the views of maybe more than 10% of people who call themselves libertarians. Of the people I know who are actually active libertarians, most of them read…. hold on – neither one of them!

  28. To be honest, making up names like ‘Stato’, ‘Kochtopus’ and ‘(T)reason’ has not made Lew Rockwell and his circle more convincing in my mind. Rather it has diminished the force of their arguments.

    Tarran, they use those terms in the blogs. They can pretty much write what they want in them. Their stance on the war, the state and its monopolies are deeply seated in libertarian principles, and that is more important than cute terms in a simple blog. Some of their contributors have found Reason’s attack on Paul to be unfounded and grounded in false outrage, and I tend to agree with them.

  29. That was positively Shatner-esque, and NOT in a good way . . .

    Funny, I was thinking that it was positively Shatner-esque, but somehow it had more heart and meaning under all the crazy exterior of it than anything Shatner would do.

  30. @Daze

    Raimondo and Rockwell don’t seem all that libertarian to me. They seem like old-fashioned authoritarian conservatives — they laud capitalism in principle, but they hate the cultural and social openness that free markets allow. Their obsessive tirades against social deviancy and their ugly race-baiting and jew-baiting are antithetical to the individualist “live and let live” spirit of real libertarianism.

    Who ever told you libertarianism was a lovefest? Freedom also means the freedom to hate anyone you want to, for any silly reason you want to. Loudly, deeply, and publicly.

    I can just as easily turn that around and point out cosmotarian types like the cultural and social deviancy, but hate the political incorrectness free markets allow.

    That’s what cracks me up about libertarianism, and I have to say particularly Reason’s brand of it. It’s composed of two incongruous parts – a.) a political vision of small, non-interventionist government, and b.) a social vision of a “social tolerance” (and a decidedly left-liberal vision of social tolerance, at that). The problem is, part a is no way in hell gonna result in part b. – To hear Reason tell it, you’d think the barrier to Americans embracing gay marriage and open borders was big intrusive government.

    You have to believe these people never read a newspaper or an opinion poll. My money says if Reason ever got the kind of government they claim to endorse, the editorial staff more likely would be gingerly peeling the tar and feathers off their asses around now, courtesy of the liberated citizenry….

    What exactly is “libertarian” about them?

    Tell me – what could be more libertarian than pointlessly shooting off your mouth?

  31. Well I thought it was great for Gravel. It is much better than the rock in the reflecting pool. He kind of reminds me of the Monkees when they would have their music segment, except the political, crazy, burnt out, well meaning, smart enough to understand bullshit version of the Monkees.

    I get the Vietnam/Iraq same ol shit comparison. The end was the best with Ike’s military industrial complex speech with footage of Bush, Nixon, Cheney on the screen.

    I still hope Gravel has no chance in hell at the nomination, but wouldn’t be opposed to the Reason foundation making up some position for him to keep him busy, like the Chairman of Amateur Abstract Art or something like that. We can have fun with him and give him a soapbox so it would be an even trade.

  32. The one half of one percent who take politics seriously are clowns.
    I’m remembering a perverted groupy whom I nailed, and my buddies nailed back when Goldwater was running. Surely she was a Democratic plant. Republicans are not so easy.

    By the way, Russell Means would make Javier what’s his name, who was in “No Country for Old Men,” quiver in his boots.

  33. If you haven’t heard yet, Democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow’s husband Tom Athans, also head of Air America was busted in a prostitution stink in Detroit.

  34. Who was that pinko anti-American queer spouting conspiracy theories at the end of the video?

    This web site has really gone downhill since Eric Dondero left.

  35. If the libertarian community keeps having these slapfests with each other, we might as well call it a day. We make fun of the Dems for arguing over the candidate when we can’t even agree on what the fuck libertarianism is.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I’d be happy with a Ron Paul or Bob Barr for president, and I’m happy with Matt Welch as editor at Reason. Why? They’re all fucking better than the alternatives, despite their flaws and possible inconsistencies.

    You people who keep these stupid, petty arguments within libertarianism aren’t helping, so shut up, grow up, and stop being so absolutist.

  36. Well the Reason-Rockwell catfight could be a good thing. If we Libertarians, Paleo and Kosmo alike, think that when organizations are providing a shitty product to their consumers, that competition would produce an alternative. Who knows, this could be Urkobold’s big break. I think the movement has mobilized rather well in the past year, but I think the consumers are being under served.

  37. It wasn’t exactly Shatner, but you could see it from there. I award it an 9; Shat-Rocket-Man being a ten, of course.

  38. Fuck you, PC.

    In the other thread, I asked Raimondo to provide me specific examples of claims Welch had made about McCain that weren’t credible.

    He didn’t produce any, because he is a dickweed.

    The bottom line is that he woke up this morning wanted a fight with Welch, and because he found Welch blogging about McCain, decided to assert that Welch was making claims about McCain that were rendered non-credible by the fact that Welch once said he liked public education.

    If you make that statement without having an example of a Welch claim about McCain that is not credible or false, you are a douchebag. You are in fact standing up for McCain just because that’s convenient for your To Do List item of fucking with Welch today.

  39. I’m going to throw this out there:

    There was vile, homophobic shit written the comment threads about Welch when he first came to Reason.

    I think this paleo/cosmo thing has been coming for a long time.

    My two cents.

  40. Barr vs Gravel??? Has the Libertarian Party run out of libertarians?

    Why does anyone trust the viperous Raimondo with constant hissing and spitting matches?

    The Rockwell crowd, of which Raimondo is a member, are juist trying to dismiss all libertarian groups that they don’t control. Yet their libertarianism has more than a tinge of racism to it, is authoritarian on immigration and peopled by conspiracy nuts. And when they want Big Government to keep out all immigrants they have the nerve to call that anarcho-capitalism. As for their tolerance of others they hang out with the League of the South and other white supremacists and Pat Buchanan. That ought to say something. What morons! Please not that in these pissing matchs it is the Rockwellians stinking up the room by attacking everyone else. Cato doesn’t attack them. Reason doesn’t attack them but they attack everyone.

  41. There was vile, homophobic shit written the comment threads about Welch when he first came to Reason.

    Wait, I’m gay now, or at least metro-something? It’s all so very confusing.

  42. It didn’t make a great deal of sense to me, either, when I saw it.

  43. Matt, since you’re reading this, how about writing your next piece on uniting libertarians so we can be more than a .5% force on election day? Maybe just humor those of us who care about real-world change rather than philosophical and personal pissing matches on the internet.

  44. “The bottom line is that he woke up this morning wanted a fight with Welch, and because he found Welch blogging about McCain, decided to assert that Welch was making claims about McCain that were rendered non-credible by the fact that Welch once said he liked public education.”

    This is incorrect. The bottom line is that Welch hit a nerve with this:

    https://reason.com/news/show/124944.html

    So Raimondo shot back and Lew linked to it:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/020335.html

    But this didn’t start just now, it is the Libertarian version of Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We don’t know who started it but it is always the other guys fault. Raimondo didn’t give a damn about McCain, that was just a segway to push his article and surprisingly The American Conservative now has a blog site where his piece was also featured. I didn’t think Taki would be able to get that but it is under relatively new ownership.

    I promise to learn tags in the future.

  45. I don’t care about making a difference in the real world or whatever, but I do care about libertarian blogs not being dominated by a boring fight about who the “real” libertarians are. Can we at least keep ourselves entertained while the world goes to hell?

  46. LevStrauss – A Segway is a two wheeled scooter. A segue is a link between two separate items.

  47. spelling fascist | April 3, 2008, 12:04am | #

    I promise to learn spelling in the future as well.

  48. I’d love to see Gravel get the Libertarian nomination just so he can make unintentionally hilarious videos until November.

  49. Surely Gravel intends the humor he conveys!

    I think he knew that last year’s infamous rock throw was going to be weird, and he willed the weirdness. He needed to make SOME sort of splash.

    And this rendition of “Helter Skelter” strikes me as the work of a knowing ironist. That’s the charm. And perhaps the only charm of his candidacy!

  50. “If you haven’t heard yet, Democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow’s husband Tom Athans, also head of Air America was busted in a prostitution stink in Detroit.”

    and meanwhile, Livinia finally tells Stan about Karl, while Jake is released from the hospital but still has amnesia, and Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice are busted by the cops at their Halloween orgy . . .

  51. What would happen if every single Libertarian Party member quit and joined the Republican Party?

    Would the Republican Party become more libertarian? Would the neo-cons get scared and start a new political party?

  52. I do believe this tied the record for fastest and most thorough thread highjack ever.

  53. OK, Lev, thanks for the link.

    That article does not seem to have appeared on the blog as a “New at Reason” blurb. Perhaps that is why Raimondo decided to jump into the McCain thread.

    It’s still pretty stupid to not just say, “Welch, I think running yet another Paul article makes you a dick. And why did you say this liberal shit?” Failing to do that and trying instead to force that square peg into the round hole of a McCain article turned what he was trying to say into a critique of Welch’s claims about McCain.

  54. To be honest, making up names like ‘Stato’, ‘Kochtopus’ and ‘(T)reason’ has not made Lew Rockwell and his circle more convincing in my mind. Rather it has diminished the force of their arguments.

    4th Grade schoolyard name-calling doesn’t exactly endear itself to advancing any argument. I’d have to say it’s a spot-on observation, and part of the reason I can’t take their blog very seriously especially since they themselves seem to be dead serious.

    Perhaps if Rockwell, Raimondo and Friends would put the energy spent coming up with them (and their associated attacks) into more constructive activities like, you know, attempting to resolve differences, something good might come of all this.

    As it stands now, however, it looks like a bunch of dick-measuring to see who’s got the biggest libertarian member.

  55. (getting back to the topic of Gravel…)

    “Warren Ellis blogged this video, too, although he seems to think Gravel is already the LP nominee.”

    Actually Ellis only says that Gravel is a “newly minted libertarian candidate for president,” not the nominee. So Ellis has it correct, though I’m sure that others could jump to the wrong conclusion with that wording. (I’ve corrected others who have made that mistake)

  56. Also, I find it amusing that so many outside the LP are just assuming that Barr and Gravel who only just entered the race are the frontrunners, just by benefit of their prior congressional experience.

    Gravel only just joined the LP, that may not be a problem for delegates who are newcomers themselves, but that will work against him with many (myself included). Barr at least, does have sweat equity in the LP, having been a member of the Executive Committee for the past few years.

    But there are other candidates who have been traveling, meeting with potential delegates at state conventions, and have established reputations within the party. Some have little chance, others are legitimate contenders.

    Remember, without pledged delegates, primaries, or caucuses, LP conventions can be weird. Just take 2004, for example.

    Badnarick wasn’t even considered a top nominee going into the convention. But his performance at the convention’s presidential debate impressed enough to push him into a surprise 2nd place on the first ballot, and then to the top of the ticket.

    The only prediction I dare make is that there will be multiple ballots.

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