Politics

Conservatism, for Party Over Country

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Old-guard conservative David Franke, who was there when the 1960 movement-defining "Sharon Statement" was issued, finds yesterday's "Mount Vernon Statement" intended to do the same for the movement today lacking:

The great failure of the Mount Vernon Statement is not any literary shortcoming, but rather its utter failure to learn anything from the past 50 years, and to accept any responsibility for what has gone wrong over the past 50 years.

The Mount Vernon Statement reads like a document stuck in the Sixties: "America's principles have been undermined and redefined in our culture, our universities and our politics." There is not the slightest hint or acknowledgement that conservatives had any part in this undermining or redefining. Nothing about people posing as conservatives being responsible for a brutal empire that straddles the world, the bankrupting of the nation to pay for this empire, the justification of torture at home and abroad, an imperial presidency, the evisceration of the Tenth Amendment, you name it. Apparently only liberals have committed these crimes against the spirit and the letter of the Constitution.

Granted, documents like the Sharon Statement and the Mount Vernon Statement don't usually name names, so we shouldn't expect to see Bush and Cheney singled out for indictment in the latter. But there are disparaging references like "some insist that America must change" and "this idea of change." Gee, whom could they be talking about? Anyone with an ounce of political savvy can figure out that this is not an indictment of changes brought about by Bush and Cheney, but by that scoundrel Barack Hussein Obama.

And there's a reason why the signers of the Mount Vernon Statement are silent today about the decapitation of the Constitution in the Bush/Cheney era – almost 100 percent of them supported Bush and Cheney with their votes in 2000, 2004, and (by proxy McCain) 2008. Even if they uttered some criticisms from time to time, they ended up voting for the Republican every time because – horrors – otherwise a Democrat would win.

In short, they put allegiance to party above allegiance to the Constitution they claim to serve. And because they cannot acknowledge this, the Mount Vernon Statement has to be seen as just another partisan battle cry, not a statement of "conservative beliefs, values and principles."

Jacob Sullum and Jesse Walker were also unimpressed with the Mt. Vernon Statement at Reason Online yesterday.

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  1. David Franke, who was there was the 1960 movement-defining “Sharon Statement” was issued…

    Did you mean “when”?

  2. just another partisan battle cry, not a statement of “conservative beliefs, values and principles.”

    But even if they had succeeded in reaffirming those “beliefs, values and principles,” there remains only the living corpse of a bankrupt political philosophy. Nothing will be accomplished as long as Jesus keeps showing up at the conventions.

    1. Yeah, if only stupid religious people would crawl in a whole or die or something. How come we can’t all be as enlightened as Ed?

      1. You may aspire to it. Don’t give up.

  3. Yeah, Franke pretty much nailed that. When Ed Meese personally repudiates his war on the first amendment, accepts personal responsibility for damaging the first amendment, and shines Larry Flynt’s gold-plated wheelchair as a penance, then I might believe him. Might.

  4. What conservatives really need to do is to offer some kind of contract to the country. You know, something much more binding than a statement.

    1. It’s like a contract on America. Get it?!?

      1. It’s like they’re the Castratos or something, since they have no real balls.

        1. You didn’t get it. Why am I not surprised? Why do you disappoint me? Second by second, you waste my time. The only reason God doesn’t erase you from the face of the Earth is because you amuse him somehow.

          1. No, I keep you on Earth because you amuse *me.* (ponders turning Epi into Tonya Harding or a small badger for a moment….nah.)

            1. Daddy no want me! I’m gonna take a bus to Reno!

              Tonya Harding? You are truly a cruel lord.

  5. Politics is the art of the possible. Scaling back the welfare/ administrative state is not politically possible, to any great degree, until it starts to go bankrupt. Unless one wants a libertarian dictatorship to do it.

    1. Even as it starts to go bankrupt, I don’t think we’ll see any big push to roll it back. More likely, we’ll have lots more California/Greece/France-style protests from the various groups who want to preserve their pet interests. Some will win continued funding and some won’t, but government will remain at the high end of the Laffer Curve.

    2. “a libertarian dictatorship”

      I’m trying to envision how that would work, but my brain shorted out. Thanks a lot, Richard!

      1. Gives “live free or die” a whole other possible meaning.

  6. I’m no supporter of Republicanism (or electoral politics as a means for change), but it seems a little strange to insist that voting for one candidate over another, over the last couple of elections, amounts to a betrayal of principle.

    “almost 100 percent of them supported Bush and Cheney with their votes in 2000, 2004, and (by proxy McCain) 2008.”

    I mean, voting for McCain in 2008 amounts to a betrayal of constitutional principles? Really?

    …without even knowing at the time that Barak Obama wouldn’t be the savior of constitutional principles he was supposed to be, it sounds like the real alleged crime here is not supporting President Obama. …which wasn’t really a betrayal of anything.

    As far as the election in 2000, are you really going to call Bush’s campaign in 2000 out as anti-Constitutional? Who knew that Bush would be what he was and do what he did in 2000?

    That having been said, there’s no excuse for 2004. For 2004, those that supported the Bush Administration are guilty as charged.

    1. When the man answers “Christ” as his most influential political thinker or philosopher, during the Des Moines Register’s GOP primary debate, this should be setting off some red flags.

      So no, there’s not a case for total ignorance in 2000, either. Less red flags than 2004? Sure. But not a complete unknown, here.

      1. C’mon, don’t make me defend W….But I think that if your thing is “compassionate conservatism” then I don’t think citing Christ as your fav political philosopher is that crazy. Christ had a radically new idea about justice and forgiveness imho…

        1. You know, if you want to name Jesus as your most influential ethical or spiritual philosopher, then don’t let me stop you. But a political philosopher? Now come on.

          1. But Christ did have a radical redefinition of justice which is a central political concern imo

            1. I also believe he said, “Render unto Caesar.” In other words, he didn’t come round the bend to institute a new political order, but an ethical and spiritual one. You’ll notice he didn’t go around petitioning the local magistrate for an upheaval of a new political order, but to the ordinary folks in the street for a new personal order.

              Again, the question was, political philosopher or thinker. Jesus didn’t exactly spend much time expounding upon the relationship between man and state as he did between man and fellow man and man and God.

              1. While I don’t personally believe that he was a deity, Jesus Christ wielded a lot of political power. For instance, the religion founded by his followers brought down the Roman empire. Can you name anyone in all history who topped that?

                1. And all this time I thought it was Goths. Silly me.

                2. Not really. The Roman Empire unified and co-opted the various Christian religions.

            2. Seconded.

              Every libertarian should know at least a little about “The Kingdom of God is Within You” and “Letter to a Hindu”.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Letter_to_a_Hindu

              Actually, come to think of it, people taking The Sermon on the Mount seriously led to a lot of pretty awesome political changes in the 20th Century.

              …not that Bush was thinking of that. I think he was probably grandstanding. In response to the question of whether he though God was on his side, Lincoln is supposed to have said, “It’s not whether God is on my side, but whether I’m on his.”

              It’s called “grandstanding”. Politicians do it. If you like elections, it comes with the scenery.

        2. Seconded.

          I remember when Bush was about replacing the welfare state with private charities, many of which are religious in nature…

          Private, sometimes religious, charities are better at solving social problems than the government, so we should spin those functions off to them in a public offering…

          If that’s the only way destroying the welfare state can actually be achieved in the real world, then I’m still not sure I’m completely against it…

          …no one knew Buss would turn into a reptile.

          1. The Office of Faith Based Initiatives had nothing to do with moving the welfare state over to private charities, some of whom were religious. It was a way for Bush to allow religious organizations to suck from the federal teat and provide government social services. That’s outsourcing to benefit a constituency, not reducing the welfare state. It’s similar to having federal student loans administered by private banks. They’re still guaranteed by the feds and the money still comes from taxpayers, however, politically connected beneficiaries are given the opportunity to profit from it.

      2. Bush revealed his born-again ignorance with that response.

    2. “it seems a little strange to insist that voting for one candidate over another, over the last couple of elections, amounts to a betrayal of principle.”

      Exactly. We have two main political parties from which to choose. Voting for third parties is an example of what Voltaire described as making “the perfect is the enemy of the good.”

      Libertarians who want to accomplish something work within the system, even when it means working with non-libertarians.

      1. Libertarians who want to accomplish something work within the system, even when it means working with non-libertarians.

        Is that anything like battered spouse syndrome? Because I just know these Republicans still love us and besides, the beatings were all our fault.

        1. Is that more like the Ron Paul Syndrome? Or the Rand Paul syndrome?

    3. I mean, voting for McCain in 2008 amounts to a betrayal of constitutional principles? Really?

      R?e?a?l?l?y

    4. I mean, voting for McCain in 2008 amounts to a betrayal of constitutional principles? Really?

      He has his name on one of the biggest legislative attempts to strip down the 1st Amendment. McCain-Feingold, you may have head of it.

  7. I understand the desire for some accountability for Republicans’ past anti- or extra-constitutional policies, but I’m not sure why Franke pegs it to votes in 2000-2008. Is he saying conservatives should have voted for Gore, Kerry or Obama to prove their constitutional bonafides?

    1. There were more than 2 people on my ballot all 3 of those years. In fact, I didnt vote for Bush, Gore, Bush, Kerry, McCain or Obama.

    2. There’s always the options of A) Voting for None of the Above, or failing that, staying home.

      1. Not voting?!? But…but…

        Let’s get out and vote!
        Let’s make our voices heard!
        We’ve been given the right to choose
        Between a douche and a turd
        It’s democracy in action,
        Put your freedom to the test,
        A big fat turd or a stupid douche,
        Which do you like best?

        1. Vote or die muthafucka, muthafucka vote or die
          Rock the vote or else I’m gonna stick a knife through your eye
          Democracy is founded on one simple rule
          Get out there and vote or I will muthafuckin’ kill you

          Yeah

          I like it when you vote bitch (bitch)
          Shake them titties when you vote bitch (bitch)
          I slam my jimmy through your mouth roof (mouth roof)
          Now get yo’ big ass in the polling booth

          I said vote, bitch, Or I fuckin’ kill you

          Vote or die muthafucka, muthafucka vote or die
          You can’t run from my .38 go ahead and try
          Let your opinion be heard, you gotta make a choice
          ‘Cause after I slit your throat, you won’t have a fuckin’ voice

          1. That would be “beatch” to keep it real.

          2. Ah, the sheer poetry… how lovely and soothing!

      2. Any individual American’s Presidential vote has a miniscule amount of influence over how Presidential power is wielded, in general or in that individual’s life, specifically. It’s barely worth spending a minute of one’s personal time thinking about whom to vote for, or even bothering to vote at all.

    3. Is he saying conservatives should have voted for Gore, Kerry or Obama to prove their constitutional bonafides?

      Because everyone knows that there are only 2 political parties in this county.

      Or, maybe nominate someone other than those asshats, or form a breakaway party that has a platform and candidate that stands on those principles they supposedly embrace?

      Nah, better to just support the status quo and then whistle past the graveyard when it all goes to straight to hell.

      1. Nah, better to just support the status quo and then whistle past the graveyard when it all goes to straight to hell.

        I guess you could get a bumper sticker that says, “Don’t blame me, I voted Libertarian” and consider yourself to be part of the solution…

        However, while I’m not a cheerleader for Franke, I think he was trying to rant about grownups, not people with Libertarian bumper stickers.

        1. I’m sure glad the grownups are all about institutionalizing torture and trampling the Bill of Rights. Maybe one day, I too will get to be a grownup! Right after my frontal lobotomy, that is.

          1. Better a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy.

        2. However, while I’m not a cheerleader for Franke, I think he was trying to rant about grownups, not people with Libertarian bumper stickers.

          How’s that self-awareness class going?

          I may not be part of a solution today, but I sure as hell won’t be part of the problem that the Team Blue/Team Red cheerleaders created, all because they liked screwing the handsome quarterback and then pretended afterwards that the syphilis sores were just a bad rash.

          1. I tell Tea Party friends that, unless they’ve been voting Libertarian for twenty five years, then they helped bring about the Obamassiah. I’m mean, candidates like Dole, Bush, McCain who couldn’t articulate pro-freedom principles had they wanted to?

  8. In short, they put allegiance to party above allegiance to the Constitution they claim to serve. And because they cannot acknowledge this, the Mount Vernon Statement has to be seen as just another partisan battle cry, not a statement of “conservative beliefs, values and principles.”

    Well put.

  9. Look, I’m a liberal but even I can’t see how the “evisceration of the Tenth Amendment” can be layed at the door of conservatives…

    1. The name “Elizabeth Dole” has no meaning for you? De facto national drinking age?

      Bueller? Bueller?

    2. Both sides do it in their own ways; on their particular pet issues.

  10. There is going to be a choice in future elections: 1) Candidates who support Conservative values like those espoused in the Mount Vernon Statement or 2) Socialist/Progressive Marxists like those in the present Democrat(ic) Congress and the White House.

    The choice is more than clear to most Americans when they recognize the validity of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Americans are NOT Socialists, Progressives or Communists. Our Federal and State governments have been “out of control” for a long time now. This is the beginning of a New American Revolution.

  11. “There is going to be a choice in future elections: 1) Candidates who support Conservative values like those espoused in the Mount Vernon Statement or 2) Socialist/Progressive Marxists like those in the present Democrat(ic) Congress and the White House.”

    Yup, that’s the ONLY choice! False dilemma anyone?

    1. Yep. I will continue to vote libertarian.

  12. What about National Socialists (D’OH!) who profess to be “Candidates who support Conservative values like those espoused in the Mount Vernon Statement” right up to the point where they swear an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” and then immediately commence trampling it into the mud?

    Will we still have plenty of those?

  13. “In short, they put allegiance to party above allegiance to the Constitution…”

    Isn’t this what the Democrats are doing- indirectly? Putting allegiance to the party above allegiance to the people they are supposed to serve?

    1. It absolutely is. Both parties are filled to the brim with lying hypocrites.

  14. Thanks, Reason.com, you never disappoint. Whenever I wonder why I’m not more libertarian, you guys try to woo me with a serious scholarly discussion that describes the United States of America as “a brutal empire that straddles the world.” That was very helpful.

    1. What the hell would you call our 700 worldwide bases stationed in allied nations against their people’s will, over-priced contracts with unhinged and well-armed mercenaries that perpetuate hate towards our soldiers, a Military-industrial complex with no other priority but to pull the wool over the public’s eyes as they are shaken down for protection money, and an explicit conviction from “compassionate conservatives” to wage war for 100 years?

      World War 2 ended 65 years ago, the Cold War ended in 1990, and we are fighting a handful of nutjobs better handled with intelligence and sniper rifles than our preferred bunker busters that always seem to kill a wedding party or rip apart children half a mile away with shrapnel. I don’t want to be murdered by one of those kids siblings because our smart bombs were not smart enough, do you? If our empire is not “brutal”, what the hell is it? Stupid? Needless? Wasteful? At least “brutal” makes it seem like a spurt of thought occasionally trickles through the bureacracy deemed necessary to support our “defense”. Moreover, what makes this a “scholarly” article?

      1. I wouldn’t call it a “brutal empire.” If we’re an empire, we’re the most insouciant, benign conquerers that ever were.

        1. Absolutely right, J, if you manage to forget the parts about torture and rendition.

  15. “Is that anything like battered spouse syndrome? Because I just know these Republicans still love us and besides, the beatings were all our fault.”

    There are usually two serious choices in a general election. Those who don’t actively participate in selecting at least one of those candidates leave the field to those who do.

    Evangelicals have learned to work the system – first helping elect Jimmy Carter in ’76 and later working to gain influence in the GOP. They didn’t just form a rump “Evangelical Party.”

    Major political parties are for getting things done. Minor parties are for whining and posturing.

    1. I guess then you’d better hurry and sign the statement before all the good spots get filled up by all those liberty loving conservatives who really, really mean it this time.

  16. I stop reading the moment someone refers to the US as a “brutal empire”. I’m as libertarian as the next guy but to portray us as such is simple hyperbole designed to cast us as the bad guys.

    1. Well, if your country was occupied and you had friends and relatives killed in sloppy military operations, you might consider the people responsible to be bad guys and part of a brutal empire. It would be a reasonable opinion.

      And there is no such thing as “the” bad guys. That’s simple hyperbole.

    2. Dude, hate to break it to you, but you’re not as libertarian as the next guy. You’re a bit on the conservative side.

  17. Franke is absolutely dead on. The modern conservative movement has become nothing more than a ‘do everything you can to make sure the other guy doesn’t succeed’ party of spite. I am constantly amazed at how low these people can go. Death panels? BS!! But they did manage to kill any chance for lowering the skyrocketing medical costs for those very tea partiers screaming the loudest. Wow. It’s like people giving a mugger a bat and yelling “Hit me! Hit me!”. Kill reform simply because the other guy supports it. And fawn over corporations that could not care less about there welfare. All they have to do is wave the flag (US or confererate) and some people will fall all over themselves to sign up.

    1. Reform was throttled for more reasons than just “the other guy supports it”. Some people are blind stooges who tow the party line. These stooges can be republican or democrat, but the truth remains that they are unthinking acolytes for their masters. Some people (Hardcore socialists) did not think the reform went far enough by failing to murder every evil insurer and throwing their fortunes into the streets. Others have legitimate reservations with the proposed solutions that only seem to shift problems and hide costs, like so many other unfunded and poorly managed government programs. Others are racist. No doubt about it. But if you think you change these fools’ minds by taking their guns and money you are just going to solidify their backwards rhetoric. The best thing you can do is laugh at them. Constantly. Oh and call them gay. Eventually, ridicule and childish name-calling will instincively drive them away from their “confererate” (Nice spelling jackass, you learn that in public school?) ideals. The best thing about this is that you did not have to force me to do anything about it.

      1. “But if you think you change these fools’ minds by taking their guns and money you are just going to solidify their backwards rhetoric.”

        Who said anything about taking there guns. This is just a perennial paranoia of the dishonest right wing to win people over. Certainly I wouldn’t want to see the psycho nutcase who happens to live next to an elementary school owning an assault rifle or hand grenades though. Perhaps you disagree. But that’s never been the same as the mantra “(spoken to spooky music) “They want to take your guns!”

        Why has ‘reform been throttled’? Here’s republican Bill Kristol’s advice to the repugs, which they so eagerly ate up: “Conservatives and Republicans” can thwart Obama “if they can find reasons to obstruct and delay. They should do their best not to permit Obama to rush his agenda through this year. They can’t allow Obama to make of 2009 what Franklin Roosevelt made of 1933 or Johnson of 1965. Slow down the policy train. Insist on a real and lengthy debate. Conservatives can’t win politically right now. But they can raise doubts, they can point out other issues that we can’t ignore (especially in national security and foreign policy), they can pick other fights — and they can try in any way possible to break Obama’s momentum.
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..01756.html

        Yeah, that’s really constructive. And their so called “we need to slow things down so that we can study the issues more is just sooooo transparent. This is ALL about politics, and trying to get back into power. No, as long as the self-serving Party Of Mean, Party Of The Rich, and the Party Of No is in power no major problem will ever be solved for 99% of the American people.

        On and excuse me for the typos. Sorry to have offended.

        1. Oh and here’s some more teaparty advice for stopping change:

          Grassfire.org has launched this “Join The Resistance” campaign to give grassroots conservatives a place to join together around the common goal of holding off as much of the Obama agenda as possible. Our goal is to bring together hundreds of thousands of resisters this year. When combined with similar efforts from the tea party movement, Glenn Beck’s 9-12 effort and others, together we can mount a successful, patriotic, idea-based resistance.”
          http://www.resistnet.com/profi…..ld-restore

          So then after doing their best to see Obama, and the majority of Americans who voted for him, fail they then have the hypocritical GALL to say this:

          “Republican Mitt Romney blistered President Barack Obama for a squandered first year of policy failures and broken promises on Thursday, informally auditioning before a key part of the GOP base for the chance to challenge the Democrat in 2012.

          President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and their team have failed the American people, and that is why their majority will be out the door,” Romney told a gathering of conservatives, a certain critical constituency in the upcoming Republican primary fight. “When it comes to pinning blame, pin the tail on the donkeys,” Romney quipped ? and this partisan crowd ate it up.”

          http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/201…..servatives

          But that’s right, just keep on voting against your own best interests. Keep on drinking that koolaid happily served you by Rush Limbaugh and his ilk who make so much money off of your stupidity that he can offer close to a billion dollars to buy his own football team.

    2. Hey genius: When you propose “Free Health” care, and then say the government will pick up the tab, there’s this little thing called “supply” and this other little thing called “demand” that have some sort of relationship with each other. Anywhoo… massive cost overruns with one payer (I’ll explain how limiting the pool of insurance applicants by law leads to a single payers system next if you wish) leads to: demand for cost reductions, which leads to: RATIONING. Which leads to what you have in the UK, Canada, the State of Oregon: Panels of bureaucrats that decide what treatments are “too expensive” and therefore not covered. In other words, death panels.

      This has already happened in one case in Oregon, and to thousands of people in the UK who are approaching age 65 and on dialysis. You may have also heard of the Canadian politician who was in the U.S. last week to get heart surgery. Apparently they do that in Canada, but not fast enough for him. But that could never happen here, right? P.S. Don’t worry, your significant other or mother, or sister can wait for their first breast exam because the government says it’s really not that important to know if they have breast cancer before they turn 50.

      1. Hey Smartypants, did you know that Medical Bills Can Lead to Bankruptcy
        High Deductibles, Co-Payments, Out-of-Pocket Expenses Add Up to Big Debt
        ?

        http://www.webmd.com/news/2005…..bankruptcy

        But no, go ahead and dance to the insurance company’s tune. Who’s the sucker now though?

        Maybe you should swallow your pride for a moment and take a look at SICKO. You might find that the health care of other first world nations is not the third rate care you seem to think it is. Of course nothing is perfect, but at least these people aren’t afraid of being put on the street if they happen to have an accident. And death panels? Every time one of your beloved inusrance bureaucrats denies coverage for some life threatening issue (which we all know happens all the time) on spurious grounds simply to enhance their bottom line they have effectively become a death panel.

        But no, we gotta let the so-called “free market” determine the cost of health care. Nevermind that the major players collude to keep the costs as high as possible.

        You might want to also look at article about Wendell Potter, former Vice President of Corporate Communications for the CIGNA health insurance corporation:

        http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Wendell_Potter

  18. I can’t fault conservatives for voting for Bush/Cheney in the general, especially in 2004. The problem for voters is always what to do when your preferred party wins the presidency but the actual president is not one you’d have picked. No one else was on the ballot in 2004. The “allegiance to party” criticism is valid, but its not this statement that is the problem. It is the fact that such statements are so easily overwhelmed by the Party.

    I’m not that comfortable with the Mount Vernon statement, even though I agree with just about all of it. It’s tone is suspect, and I fret about the implied meanings of words like “values” in the statement. While conceptually I am very much in favor of interpreting the Constitution strictly and “getting back to the principles of our founding,” you can’t issue a statement like this without some debate about what those principles are. I suspect there is some vigorous disagreement in there.

    The statement also suggestion some contradictions. Promoting values and such is often the reason the government gets hijacked into doing more than it should. I’d be more comfortable with langugage that simply said the government should not inject itself into the culture and leave it at that. This statement is way too vague on this. There are a lot of battles that should be fought outside the bounds of the government. Hands off is the way to go.

  19. I say we take bets on which minority the Republicans will choose to scapegoat this election season.

  20. Y’know, I was one of the authors of the Fort Huron Statement. The original Fort Huron Statement, not the watered-down version…

  21. What struck me about the Mt. Vernon doc was how it held up the free market as a constitutionally supported economic structure. That strikes me as (at best) a pretty broad reading of the constituion. And broad readings of the constitution seem to be at odds with the reason for the document. You see my confusion. At any rate, maybe you can get to ‘free market’ from ‘individual liberty’, but the constitution is a governance document, not an economic one, and capitalism is an economic construction, not a political construction.

  22. Did I vote for Bush? Twice? Yep. Would do it again too. The choice I had was Gore the first time and Kerry the second time. As long as the choice, as Jerry Pournelle puts it, is between the nuts and the creeps, I gotta go with the creeps.

    Both the Republican and Democratic party need reform (again, as Jerry says, you HAVE to have a viable alternative when it is time to throw the creeps out), or you end up with what we have now. It was time for a change, and we got a change, and we got it good and hard. I thought Bush was a big spender, but it turns out he was a pretender. So now we have people who really and truly believe they know what is best for you, and are going to make sure you get it.

    As some dead white guy said, the only problem with a government able to take care of you is that they are powerful enough to control you.

    1. I will never understand how some people believe that the pragmatic choice that most enhances individual freedom is the party of torture, indefinite detention, phony wars, corporate welfare, and theocracy. At least we saved ourselves from increased access to healthcare and a clean environment! Craziness.

      1. Frankly, no one who does not know Iran can speak about theocracy.

      2. Tell us, Tony, do you believe that Barack Obama was “the pragmatic choice that most enhances individual freedom”?

          1. And forcing people to buy health insurance is an “enhancement” of individual freedom?

            Exactly how does that work?

      3. That’s why many people on this website voted for neither major party. How’s torture, indefinite detention, phony wars, corporate welfare, support for theocratic regimes, onerous homeland “security”, and transparency going for the Democrats? If you can’t correct all of that horseshit, why do you think you can implement other horseshit succesfully? At least the dumbass Neocons could push that garbage up our asses.

  23. There are so many straw men in this argument I thought I was watching yet another awful remake of the wicker man, and am still wondering why Glenn Reynolds would link to such rubbish.

    Then I realized I was reading a crank libertarian from the “we’d rather be a movement than actually win elections” wing of the party. -You know, the losers that live in their mom’s basement, like to wear Guy Fawkes masks, collect comic books and picked Bobb Barr as the born-again defender of liberty who should get the vanity plate campaign to garner all 0.06% of the vote in 2008. (Hey W.O.D. cranks, are you aware of his past votes on the subject?* How about his ultimate position on Waco?**)

    No serious conservative would call Bush a fiscal conservative, so why are you trying to pretend he is a real conservative? This is more “both parties are the same” nonsense that fuels the denial necessary to throw away your vote. Both parties aren’t the same, because one can be swayed to defend constitutional principles and the other can’t. (BTW, -How many Supreme Court Justices have Libertarians appointed?) The Tea party movement’s hijacking of several GOP’s primaries are the perfect example of how this works. Even when they lose they send the message to the GOP: Shape up or lose. Think you could do the same with the Democratic socialists? Not likely.

    Torture and empire eh? Here’s a clue, you utopian twits: Picking up the rhetoric of the ultra left in the hopes of attracting more “I want to smoke pot” self identified (and confused) “libertarians” that don’t know or support the first thing about economic liberties has been a disaster for the LP. (And that’s pretty much all you have left, since the sane people realized after 9/11 that winning elections was a little more important than winning a coffee house purity contest. Didn’t some of you fools rationalize a vote for Barack Obama back in the day? (Thanks for that BTW, because he’s exactly what the country needed to get over their BDS and realize that people who thump the bible a little too much are still better than utopian collectivist nutjobs who want to swaddle us in craddle to grave velvet fascism. Now let’s just hope the object lesson doesn’t kill the country.)

    –Now how about a good argument from you nutters on how we should have stayed out of WWII or how 9/11 was an inside job? Dance Monkey, Dance!

    *https://reason.com/archives/2002/08/23/barr-exam
    **http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/21479.html

    1. Yes, remember everybody, if you’re not winning elections by voting for people who support invading countries and ignoring the Constitution and supporting authoritarianism and torture and bigotry, you’re nothing but big losers and the country will die!

      Thanks for measured, thoughtful response, there.

      1. The country is dying, fool. Do you need Jon Stewart to announce that for you? -because it ain’t gonna happen.

        How about you pull your head out of your personal rainbow fountain of hopey-changey and realize that people that honor the constitution in name if not in practice are better than people who think we should scrap it for “new thinking”.

        Libertarian ideals are evolutionary, which is why the LP’s never going to be a viable political party. Ironically, there has never been a better time for fiscal conservatism, but you just stand on the sidelines and wave the LP flag while we take the country back and send liberalism packing for another 30 years.

    2. Thanks for your comments I was reading through these posts and the attitudes were just stunning.

      We are running out of time, pick something/someone that will defend freedom and independence in this country, while you can, don’t kill it because of imperfections, so the fight for solutions to the rest of the problems can go on.

      Otherwise, dissatisfaction will lead you to become a subject of the state, perpetually out of compliance with the ever morphing edicts of a ruling class who have no problems with their “movement”, and there will be no hope, no change.

      1. I suspect most of these opinions are held by politically aware “kids” (i.e. < 25) that will straighten up and vote accordingly after they see a few more election cycles. –Not that we will need to wait for them, because there are two things we should never expect: wisdom from youth, or the youth to show up for the midterms. 🙂

  24. The Tea Party version of this was quite good. The Republicans would do better to adopt it as a whole. I was worried there might be right wing social items enshrined in it but it was pretty clean memory serves. I was very pleasantly surprised.

  25. Meanwhile, while we’re all arguing about tea party and free market values (sure wouldn’t want to see those corporate CEOs cheated out of their rightful profits!),

    US executive pay goes off the scale
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/busi…..cutivepay2

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