Campaigns/Elections

Don't Expect Me to Cry for All the Reasons You Have to Die

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Another thing about Michael Gerson's funny Jesus-wasn't-a-libertarian column that Jacob Sullum dropped some theology on below: In reading it, I was reminded again of something I only fully realized when doing research of the 2000 campaign for my book: The George W. Bush vs. John McCain fight back then, when Compassionate Conservatism did holy battle with the secular religion of National Greatness Conservatism, was widely (and accurately) understood at the time as an explicit rejection of GOP libertarianism, then most associated with Newt Gingrich. (See, for example, the extended McCain quote at the bottom of this post.) The two candidates were championing the federal government as a tool for good works, and promising to restore a certain dignity and honor in the White House. We've had eight years of one flavor (admittedly mixed heavily with the neocon/National Greatness stuff after 9/11); now it's time to try the other.

Is it any wonder then, that the Republican nominee has trouble on his libertarian flank, despite being good on stuff like earmarks and government waste?

In that context, and in the season of an impending Republican rout, it makes perfect sense for those Republicans, like Gerson, who've actually been within sniffing distance of power these past eight years to take aim at those libertarians who most definitely have not. Considering that Bob Barr is this year's third-party candidate of interest, and Ron Paul is still proving to be some kind of irritant, expect the next six months to produce an establishment GOP assault on limited-government Republicans and independents who have little or no more use for that shrinking Big Tent. Should be a hoot.

NEXT: Friday Funnies

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  1. From the link to the Economist story: The Ruby Ridge vs. Reefer Madness wings of the LP. That’s good.

  2. expect the next six months to produce an establishment GOP assault on limited-government Republicans and independents

    This would be bone-crushingly stupid–extra crispy fried stupid, in fact–but the GOP is certainly moronic enough to do it.

    However, I still think McCain will win and Matt agrees with me*.

    * he doesn’t, but that’s no fun

  3. I get the feeling that the GOP at this point sees libertarians in the same light that reasonable LPers see Truthers…repugnant, annoying, and embarrassing to be associated with.

  4. From the Economist article:
    “The new Libertarian champion, Bob Barr, a former four-term Georgia congressman, is most famous for his poor judgment and sour temper.”

    Discuss

  5. “Is it any wonder then, that the Republican nominee has trouble on his libertarian flank, despite being good on stuff like earmarks and government waste?”

    Almost the entire post-Gingrich GOP has. What ever happened to that term limits thing? I remember something about Republicans supporting that idea at one time.

  6. From the Economist article:

    he was once photographed licking whipped cream off the breasts of a particularly buxom woman. He says he was raising money for leukemia research.

    OK, he has my vote now.

    Barr/Root ’08!!!!!

  7. My guess is that a nasty libertarian touched the writer of that Economist article in an inappropriate place during his childhood.

    I also note for completeness that our old “friend” DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOO makes an appearance early on in the comments section…

  8. The only thing scarier than the effete liberal wing of the Democratic Party taking up the populist cause is the self-righteous, Chritian-do-gooder wing of the Republican Pary taking up the populist cause.

  9. Fuck’em All…(with Constitutional Amendments)

    ? TERM LIMITS.

    ? BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT.

    ? 2/3 CONGRESSIONAL SUPERMAJORITY FOR ALL TAX HIKES.

  10. You too can help stop AGW by merly leving a fw charcters frm most of the wrds in your post.

  11. The GOP has driven me away. Not necessarily into the arms of the Dems, but I read the message loud and clear.

    Adi?s.

  12. I have a sudden urge to help with raising money for leukemia research.

  13. kinnath,
    I saw in the press somewhere (don’t remember where)that the christians in this country are seeing the beginnings of a great revival. I fully expect the republicans to glom on to it and ride it for all it is worth.

    Here in Alabama, nearly all the republican campaign adds mention “christian conservative values.” The U.S. congress candidates as well as the local.

  14. “My guess is that a nasty libertarian touched the writer of that Economist article in an inappropriate place during his childhood.”

    Where have you been? I had a subscription to the Economist for a year and they couldn’t wait to bash Libertarians at every opportunity. They treated Ron Paul like crap too. Their support for market liberalism is wishy-washy at best. I have failed to renew.

  15. You too can help stop AGW by merly leving a fw charcters frm most of the wrds in your post.

    Ddddon’t wwwworrie aaaaallll, I can totally more than make up for that by adding totally, completely, redundant and repetitive words plus some exxxttra lettersz.

  16. We must stamp out and do away with redundancy!

  17. Even leading Bushies like David Frum sneer at Gerson.

  18. Here in Alabama, nearly all the republican campaign adds mention “christian conservative values.” The U.S. congress candidates as well as the local.

    I registered Republican for the first time to participate in the Iowa caucuses this year. Since then, I have been receiving email from the local party officials. All of the local candidates (except one doctor) are running on “christian” values in one form or another.

    Iowa doesn’t compare to the bible belt (I’ve spent 8 years between Georgia and Tennessee) when it comes to blatant christian posturing in public gatherings. I can only imagine what the deep south must be experiencing now.

  19. I saw in the press somewhere (don’t remember where)that the christians in this country are seeing the beginnings of a great revival. I fully expect the republicans to glom on to it and ride it for all it is worth.

    Maybe libertarians should try to find common ground with Christians instead of neopagans.

    Oh, wait, you can’t be a libertarian unless you fuck anuses and shoot heroin.

  20. Nice Vaselines reference, Matt. They reunited this year to play a couple of summer festival dates. Unfortunately, the only U.S. date so far is in Washington state.

  21. I guess the author of that piece would advise all of us to get over all the deaths resulting from drug raids as well.

  22. Oh, wait, you can’t be a libertarian unless you fuck anuses and shoot heroin.

    Let’s see, 50-something dude, married 30+ years, two adult children, four grandchildren, and living an extremely dull middle-class life.

    Apparently, I can’t be a libertarian.

    So Amos, you can go fuck your self in the ass — that should keep you occupied and of the discussion thread for at least a little while.

  23. Well, if they don’t find someone to blame, they’d have to look in the mirror, admit they fucked up royally and ‘compassionate conservatism’ is an even bigger failure than the liberal ‘war on poverty’

    Cranky libertarian and libertarian leaning Republicans who have been critical of their agenda are the most likely targets. You know, if only we just believed, we could all have wealth, a permanent Republican majority, and a magic flying unicorn to ride to work every day.

  24. Amos,

    Can you describe what that “common ground” would look like?

  25. Maybe libertarians should try to find common ground with Christians instead of neopagans.

    We do have common ground. It’s called “leave me the fuck alone.”

    It’s the Christians in government we don’t like, because the real fundamentalists see no problem with forcing their will upon you with their government power.

    You need to be saved, don’t’cha know…

  26. Fucking anuses and shooting heroin is a sufficient, but not necessary, condition for becoming a libertarian, Amos.
    And as a libertarian Christer myself, I can testify (sing it out, brother!) that my religion and my politics are completely compatable. Of course, I’m secure enough in my beliefs to be able to joke (and take a joke) about them.

  27. Taktix,

    That salvation you speak of should be pursued through prayer, meditation, reading God’s word and personal outreach to those interested in the gospel. IMHO it has absolutely no business being legislated.

    or maybe I failed to read the part where Jesus held public office and forced his will on the unwashed masses.

  28. The George W. Bush vs. John McCain fight back then, when Compassionate Conservatism did holy battle with the secular religion of National Greatness Conservatism, was widely (and accurately) understood at the time as an explicit rejection of GOP libertarianism

    Good points.

    As I recall, there was also the pragmatic angle that W’s more moderate and compassionate (read: statist) policies, exemplified by the Medicare expansion, was believed to have more appeal to moderates than scary Gingrichism with its government shutdowns.

    It’s too bad, if we’d a firmly Hayekian GOP in 2000, we might have universal school vouchers by now and more of our kids would graduate able to read, write, and do calculus.

  29. brotherben,

    maybe I failed to read the part where Jesus held public office and forced his will on the unwashed masses.

    Book of Armaments. Somewhere after the breakfast cereals bit.

  30. Oh, wait, you can’t be a libertarian unless you fuck anuses and shoot heroin.

    I fuck anuses heterosexually and take pain medication that is chemically similar to heroin, so am I in?

  31. you ain’t gonna shit right for a week.

  32. Sounds like you’re just a wannabe, Epi.

  33. What, donkey punch plus percocet doesn’t cut it?

  34. Libertarian Christians, like me, don’t care if you go to hell. It is your personal choice.

  35. Yeah, and I’ll probably see you there, Guy.

  36. Guy Montag,

    So, what do you think of Jesus’ command “to make disciples of all nations…”?

  37. CC,

    Sounds like a suggestion rather than a command. I suspect that there is more to it than what is being quoted and I really don’t remember the whole passage.

  38. Colin, for what it’s worth, the KJV says “teach” rather than “make disciples of.”

  39. CN,

    If you are non-religious, why are you invoking hell? Nevermind, that was rhetorical.

  40. You misunderstand, Guy. I already fessed up to being a libertarian Christer.

  41. It’s a lot easier to sit on your duff violating all the things in the bible you want to violate with similar company while being completely self righteous and voting for amendments against gays, teaching teenagers about sex, etc., than it is to actually go out and try through charity and witnessing to spread the good word you so vociferously proclaim to follow.

    2 things I learned about Jehovah’s Witnesses:
    1. They don’t vote
    2. They go door to door peacefully trying to spread their beliefs and get rejected a lot, sometimes in not very nice ways.

    American Christians can be such cowards (not all of them, mind you, but many)

  42. Citizen Nothing,

    From what I have read of the scholarship on the matter there are far better translations of the texts than the KJV.

  43. Reinmoose,
    I believe those Christians are to Christianity what the truthers and colloidial silver freaks et al. are to libertarianism. (But more dangerous to the public at large, of course.)

  44. Reinmoose,

    Amen brother!

  45. You misunderstand, Guy. I already fessed up to being a libertarian Christer.

    Ooops, my bad. I withdraw my snark and will have a private communion at the closest sports bar to the office when I am done with the workday.

  46. Colin, many translations. Exactly.
    The Internationational Standard Version even uses “disciple” as a verb, for God’s sake. (What the fuck is up with that?)
    In other words, there’s a lot of room for maneuvering in there.

  47. Reinmoose,

    The only teenagers I want to teach are females 18 yo. or above. That said, I can’t stand the ones I meet so I am continuing the search and practicing on the 30 and above crowd.

  48. “a private communion at the closest sports bar”
    Guy, you do know that in some traditions, a beer works just as well as wine in such settings, right?

  49. Yep, they keep a good supply of Foster’s chilled for me, but sometimes I do have red wine, so they know to have the $5/glass variety at the ready too.

  50. Citizen Nothing,

    The KJV is an especially crappy translation, particularly as regards the “OT.”

  51. Book of Armaments. Somewhere after the breakfast cereals bit.

    Well, obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.

  52. ahhh, Foster’s

    never have found out how much it takes to hang me over.
    That’s a quality I like in a beer

  53. All you people would be singinging a different tune if you were attacked by a killer rabbit and had to bust out the instruction passage for the Holy Hand Grenade!

  54. Irrational Crazy Supporters
    Crazy Pastors
    Hillary Blogs
    Obamas resume
    Want to know the difference between Clinton and Obama supporters

    This and more on?

    http://sensico.wordpress.com/

  55. CC,

    That popularity of beers in their nation of origin is an odd thing.

    Fine by me too. If the Aussies were drinking it all up I might not be able to find any here.

  56. Reinmoose,
    I believe those Christians are to Christianity what the truthers and colloidial silver freaks et al. are to libertarianism. (But more dangerous to the public at large, of course.)

    Citizen Nothing –
    I’m afraid there are a lot more, bitter, self righteous Christians out there than there are Truthers. Christians tend to pick and choose what they want to pursue from the Bible, and those things happen to be largely legislatable…hmmmm… funny that.

  57. Reinmoose,
    Yes, Christianity is certainly a larger pool than libertarianism.

  58. CC,

    Never heard of it.

  59. Look, CN – if it doesn’t apply to you, you can realize it doesn’t apply to you and not get offended. If you’re getting offended on behalf of those you know, then you clearly don’t think there’s a problem with what I’ve described.
    Don’t pretend that you think there’s a problem with being a lazy, self righteous, sinner who calls themselves a Christian if you actually think it’s a problem, and it’s not you.

  60. Don’t pretend that you think there’s a problem with being a lazy, self righteous, sinner who calls themselves a Christian if you actually think it’s a problem, and it’s not you.

    Should read:
    Don’t pretend that you think there’s a problem with being a lazy, self righteous, sinner who calls themselves a Christian if you don’t actually think it’s a problem, even if it’s not you.

  61. It’s just easier to force others to abide by my rules through legislation than it is for me to live my life the right way. God I hope you give me credit for the way them heathens have to live because of me. Vicarious salvation through legislated morality takes a lot less work than actually living in a christlike manner.

  62. Reinmoose, I’m not offended in the least. Sorry you took it that way.
    I’m also not offended when folks point out that libertarian gatherings sometimes devolve into freak shows. (And sometimes I’ve been one of the freaks.)
    It’s perfectly true, but it doesn’t invalidate the message.
    I agree that a large majority of those who profess to be Christians may well be lazy, self-righteous sinners. I never said it wasn’t a problem.

  63. Many Christians aren’t strong enough to resist temptation to sin so they want the government to do it for them. Hence pro-abstinence sex ed, drug war, anti-smoking laws, etc.

  64. OH, sorry.
    It was just the tone I was interpreting, which is very difficult to do in type.

  65. Anyway –
    the point is, I don’t make excuses for my racist friend, or crazy libertarians, or LEOs who lie about what happened to convict an innocent person, or “Christian” people who lack any real authenticity. The problem is that some groups are more powerful than others. I’d like to think that if the LP were to someday be in power and started doing all kinds of crazy shit that I would speak out against them, rather than keep my trap shut or worse, defend them. Similarly, if I were a LEO, I’d like to think that I’d speak out against things that I knew to be lies and corruption. It’s just that right now, libertarians are so powerless (and non-authority-seeking) that there isn’t much that they can do for me to speak out against.

  66. I need to use more bold italics.

  67. …and it frustrates me that more good Christians don’t speak out against the fakes because they think they are better to associate with than those they would seek to convert.

  68. Bingo,

    anti-smoking laws

    Appears to be one tha does not fit in the set you gave. Unless you think Manhattan, SF and all of the other ultra-Leftist areas that were first to ban smoking are full of Evangelicals cloaked in hemp.

  69. Well, among the many things that statist Christians seem to forget is that a person who desires to sin but refrains only due to the fact it would be illegal, is just as damned as the person who actually commits the sin.

  70. Chris,

    Jimmy Carter got ridiculed for admitting to committing adultery in his heart.

  71. robc,

    I think he was usually getting ridiculed for being a doofus and saying/proposing goofy stuff.

  72. Chris Potter, good point.

    robc, he wasn’t ridiculed by God, I assume. any other ridicule is just persecution as promised in the bible.

  73. robc,

    He also committed the sin of wrath against that poor little bunny. He has much to answer for.

  74. He also committed the sin of wrath against that poor little bunny.

    Bunny? Hell, he killed his sister-in-law’s cat with a shotgun. I think that’s a wee bit more wrathful than trying to brain the rabbit with a boat oar.

  75. Let’s see, 50-something dude, married 30+ years, two adult children, four grandchildren, and living an extremely dull middle-class life.

    Have you ever tried to slip it in the wrong hole or eaten a poopy seed muffin??

    HAVE YOU!?!?

  76. T,

    I didn’t know about that! He needs to build at least another 10,000 houses to make up for that heinous deed.

  77. A poopy seed muffin? Doesn’t sound very delectable.

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