Rand Rules the Right, Right?


Wrong, but Michael Lind likes to think so:

It is merciful, perhaps, that Buckley did not live to see the detested Ayn Rand become the central intellectual figure on the right. Until recently the only prominent conservative known to have been influenced at one point by the Evita of the nerds was Alan Greenspan, and he was given a pass for a youthful indiscretion. Now two of the stars of the emergent right, Ron Paul and Paul Ryan, are professed disciples of the Mary Baker Eddy of egotism…..

…..this is great news for American progressivism. In the last third of the 20th century, many liberals who supported New Deal economic policies defected to the right on the basis of the Cold War or the culture war. Now that the Cold War and the culture war are over, what remains is the class war. And in the class war, the libertarians are on the side of the classes…..

True, thanks to the popular backlash against the bailouts and the unpopular healthcare bill, the Democrats will suffer losses in the midterm elections. The Randian right will claim that Republican gains in Congress are proof that the American people share their goal of abolishing Social Security and Medicare. They should be encouraged in that belief….

The biggest danger is that Democrats will misinterpret the coming electoral setbacks to mean that they need to move in a libertarian direction…..

Obama's instinct is to appease those who attack him, so there is a danger that he might move (further) to the market fundamentalist right. But Obama is not the Democratic Party, and the party's progressive base is increasingly hostile to Carter-Clinton-Obama neoliberalism.

So bring it on, geeky disciples of Ayn Rand. Gird thy loins and put on thy Spock ears. Demand the abolition of Social Security and Medicare! Call for reducing the U.S. military to the Coast Guard! Insist on tolling every highway and street in America and selling America's infrastructure assets to foreign corporations and foreign sovereign wealth funds! Go Galt!

Bring it on! Even confined to a wheelchair, Franklin Roosevelt can defeat Ayn Rand.

There is a bundle of goofiness contained in the full piece, including the notion that Ron Paul and Paul Ryan are now the undisputed thought leaders of the GOP (or full-on Randians), and a cynical realpolitik that says that since Americans want government to spend more than it could ever have forever, we are gonna keep taxing and taxing, spending and spending, and electing and electing, forever, never mind demographics or debt. The people want their free stuff, so libertarians will forever be irrelevant. (I also seriously doubt his contention that it was American voters unalloyed love of overseas belligerance that kept the GOP electoral coalition successful once it wisely ditched its irrelevant libertarianoid quasi-isolation after Taft died.)

The American Conservative is cutting on Lind's overestimating the Randianism of even Paul and Ryan, and of falling for the old GOP two-step of pretending to anti-government sentiment when they are out of power. And in a smart but arguable post over at Unqualified Offerings, Thoreau takes his own look at Lind's "libertarians have taken over the Republican Party" idea and concludes:

I'm not writing this to defend libertarianism from the charge of being infiltrated by the GOP. I'm writing this to argue that the GOP has not been overcome by libertarianism.  Those are two entirely different things.  From where I sit, I see some useful idiots for the GOP in the libertarian ranks, but I see precious little libertarianism animating the Republicans.

My Reason magazine cover story from December 2009 on why the right isn't ready for Rand.

NEXT: Timothy Geithner: He's Way Smarter Than You, and He Could Kick Your Ass

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Obama's instinct is to appease those who attack him, so there is a danger that he might move (further) to the market fundamentalist right.


    1. Hey, he hasn't nationalized anything - yet.

      1. Yeah, without a doubt. Abso-fucking-lutely.

        1. And when we do nationalize something (GM), we have to make sure we protect our voting base (union).

  2. I don't understand why people think Rand is a Republican goddess either.

    Republicans are no different than Democrats, in terms of the lust for power over the individual. The Republicans want absolute control over everything that happens in your bedroom, Democrats wants to control everything in every other room of your home. Neither side is concerned with freedom and competition, sound monetary policy, or reasonable thought.

    They both want their lemmings to line up and follow them off whatever cliff they're currently marching towards.

    1. "The Republicans want absolute control over everything that happens in your bedroom,"

      this cliche certainly applies to some individuals, but I'd hardy use it as a blanket statement. Did anything in the Republican platform last time around dictate what you could do in your bedroom?

      1. I always think this is more of a reference to abortion than anything else.

          1. And smokin' the Demon Weed.

        1. I always think this is more of a reference to abortion than anything else.

          How many people get abortions in their bedroom?

          1. I would have if my mom hadn't caught me.

          2. Mifepristone and Misoprostol

      2. Is your computer in your bedroom?

        "We support the law prohibiting gambling over the Internet."

        Toke in your bedroom?

        "We will continue the fight against producers, traffickers, and distributors of illegal substances through the collaboration of state, federal, and local law enforcement."

        Etc., And that's just in the Crime section of the platform!


        Fail buddy. Why would someone make a challenge based on a document they obviously have not read?

        1. So the Dems are pro-legalization? Pro-gambling?


          1. No, but the original point was that neither party is any better.

            1. But if, in practice, Republicans are bad on social freedoms and not great on economic freedom, while Democrats are bad on social freedoms and terrible on economic freedoms, the lesser of two evils is...

  3. I don't understand why people think Rand is a Republican goddess either.

    Because this talking point galvanizes the Left into a raging, foaming at the mouth, beast.

    There is something about Rand that literally causes nuclear explosions in the brains of the Left. I guess Marx would be the counterexample on the Right.

    1. Because this talking point galvanizes the Left into a raging, foaming at the mouth, beast.

      There's a reason that happens. It's because Rand attacks and demolishes the most cherished belief of the Left: that their phony altruism (which is merely a cloak for their lust for power over others and their hatred of the good for being the good) can even be morally (let alone practically) justified.

      And what is with Lind's association of "nerds" and trekkies with Objectivism? This guy is a moron.

  4. Cue Tony/Chad/MNG in 3...2...

    1. Wow, where are the Three Stooges? They shoulda been here by now.

  5. Dr Atlas, MD shrugging threadjack!!

    Physician Survey: Health Reforms Potential Impact on Physician Supply and Quality of Medical Care

    46.3% of primary care physicians (family medicine and internal medicine) feel that the passing of health reform will either force them out of medicine or make them want to leave medicine.

    1. Come now, that's less than half! Everyone knows there are too many doctors.

      Or is that lawyers? Pre-law, pre-med, what's the difference?

  6. There is something about Rand that literally causes nuclear explosions in the brains of the Left.

    It's because the Left thinks that "need" is a claim to anything they want and a justification of any means to get it. Rand's philosophy essentially tells them to take their need in one hand and shit in the other, then see which one fills up without someone else to foot the bill.

    1. That and Rand actively displayed as much contempt for the left as it does for the 'market fundamentalists'. The Cool Kids on the left just can't stomach having their morals questioned.

  7. I wish Libertarians would take over the Republican Party.

    1. I would rather Libertarians not. Taking over the GOP would be like taking over a termite infested tenement building. Sure, you could do things to fix it up, but it would still be ugly and structurally unsound.

      1. Yeah except by that reasoning, the Libertarian party is a rain-soaked cardboard box inhabited by two homeless men who are pulling it from each end while another belly-flops on the middle.

        1. You're way too kind.

          It's two homeless men who can remember when they had a rain soaked card board box to sit in.

          1. Homeless = no taxes. A libertarian wet dream. πŸ˜‰

            1. You still have to pay pay takes on your bottle of Boone's Farm.

              1. That'll be $4.

  8. There's a bundle of goofiness (and that's being nice) in the excerpted parts, Mr. Doherty. How does this narrative of libertarians as classists, rightists, etc. persist? It's fucking lunacy.

    1. It persists because it would require to much fucking effort to actually figure out WHY libertarians think what they do.

      1. Do you really think so or are you just being an ass? Even before I was fully on board with libertarianism, I always saw it as a very consistent and morally well founded political philosophy. Its pretty simple: don't hurt other people if you can help it and don't take stuff that is not yours.

        1. I think Tomcat was saying that it's easier for leftists to just write us off as right-wing cranks than to actually learn and deal with our arguments and ideals.

          Why bother debating an opponent when you can ridicule him instead?

          1. Exactly what I was saying.

  9. Yeah Lind is just playing a role as court "intellectual" hack for the Democratic party. He's simply pulling what Carville and Greenberg tried to do with Rush Limbaugh by appointing him the face of the right.

    His combination of wishful thinking (i.e. independents love debt and war) and condescending caricaturing of Ron Paul and Paul Ryan will be less success than Carville & Co.

    At least Carville & Co were relatively powerful political operatives... Lind is just some even bigger loser at a magazine and think tank.

    While I enjoy the history of ideas I just don't think they have as much of a role as self-appointed "intellectuals" like Lind (conveniently) think they do-- left or right.

    The debt, war, and most importantly economic stagnation and other objective government shenanigans are driving this quasi-libertarian revolt. If the GOP can adopt pro-growth policies and they work it is statism that will be more in the defensive than ever before.

    That said we now have a rare chance as supporters of liberty to put someone like Rand Paul into office and wipe off the arrogant smirks of the likes of Lind and other arrogant hacks like him (many more of them within the right).

    Please join me in contributing to Rand Paul's "Give Me Liberty" moneybomb on March 23rd
    and giving a blow to the establishment-both its left and right wings.

  10. Ohh.

    The geeky libertarians are gonna ride in on elephants thumping people over the head with copies of "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" whilst taking away everything and giving it to the big bad corporations that will charge you an arm and a leg to breath.

    That's what I got from that excerpt. Feel free to tell me if I got the wrong impression of what I'm supposed to be doing because I'd rather not spend time with elephants and I resent being called a geek.

    1. ...whilst taking away everything and giving it to the big bad corporations that will charge you an arm and a leg to breath.

      Ironically it is Obama and the left who want people to pay for breathing - either buy health insurance or pay a fine or tax.

      1. Also ironically, for all the noise made about Enron or Hallibuton under Bush, it's Obama who has sold our future to the likes of Goldman-Sachs executives.

      2. Don't forget the Carbon Tax.

        1. Whoa, whoa, whoa! That's a tax on breathing out.

  11. I also seriously doubt his contention that it was American voters unalloyed love of overseas belligerance that kept the GOP electoral coalition successful once it wisely ditched its irrelevant libertarianoid quasi-isolation after Taft died.

    Well, I don't doubt it. During the last 25 years of the Cold War, the Democrats were completely unserious about the Soviet threat. They wanted to cut defense to the bone, unilaterally freeze the nuclear program, were against helping the rebels in Nicaragua and Afghanistan, opposed missile defense, and generally opposed doing anything that might upset the USSR. The American people (at least most of them) saw that this was not the way to conduct foreign policy, and started electing Republicans, who pretty much singlehandedly won the Cold War.

    Taft was great on domestic policy, and we owe him a lot for helping prevent America from becoming a European-style welfare state. But on foreign policy, he was not the man to follow. He even opposed the Marshall Plan! The GOP got it right with the Goldwater/Reagan model. Small government economics, a strong foreign policy, and moderate social views. If the GOP can find someone of this mold again, they've got a great chance at beating Obama.

    1. The Marshall plan was worth opposing.

    2. Vietnam being an unparalleled success, and Afghanistan showing absolutely no signs of blowback whatsoever.

      1. The Democrats lost the Vietnam War. Don't blame the GOP for that one.

        1. Yes, I know it was Nixon who pulled out at the end, but he was left an unplayable hand by LBJ.

          1. If you really look back to the beginning, it was John Kennedy who got us into that mess, encouraged by his little brother Bobby.

        2. Interventionalism isn't really a partisan issue, nor do its results really seem to depend strongly upon the party involved.

        3. Actually, my recollection is that the final blow was a Democratic Congress refusing to honor our mutual aid treaty with the South Vietnamese.

    3. The GOP got it right with the Goldwater/Reagan model. Small government economics, a strong foreign policy, and moderate social views.

      The problem is that the GOP showed that small government economics and strong foreign policy DON'T coexist.

      1. Jeez, that's only because they didn't *really* employ small government economics.

        Once they get The Right People in charge, look out!

    4. What do we spend on the national security apparatus, like $1 trillion a year if you add it all up? Defense, CIA, NSA etc. That there's some small govt! The $$ down this sinkhole has increased under Obama. If you think the government can't run a post office why would you think it can run a globe-spanning empire?

      1. A lot of countries had large empires for centuries. To say it can't be done ignores history. To say that we don't need a strong military because if we don't bother anyone else, they won't bother us, also ignores history.

        We can (and should) privatize the post office, but we can't really privatize the military.

        1. No, you disband the military, silly!

    5. With all due respect, to quote Jim Henley

      Hayek doesn't stop at the water's edge. A small government agenda is one that understands that the warfare and welfare state are one and the same.

    6. Do you really still think we're better off with a Taliban ruled Afghanistan, instead of a communist ruled Afghanistan?

      1. As long as the USSR was around, yes. Afghanistan was a huge drain on the country, both financially and emotionally. Afghanistan was the USSR's Vietnam. Terrorism is a serious threat (the Democrats don't get this either), but the Communist USSR was a far greater one.

    7. They say that Taft was a bad mother-

      Shut your mouth!

      I'm just talkin' about Taft!

    8. Republicans didn't single handedly win the cold war. The USSR lost. Communism was doomed to failure from the start because it was a bad idea. Reagan helped to accelerate the process, but the Soviets helped a lot just by being themselves.

  12. Why is someone at Salon concerned about the military being reduced to the Coast Guard? That's at least one thing, a much smaller military, the left and libertarians (some not all) could agree on. THe liberaltarian horse is already dead, so I won't kick it in the ribs, but I'm starting to think it was stillborn.

    1. No, no, please beat the liberaltarian horse as much as possible. Better yet, beat Terry Michael.

    2. The Coast Guard has people deployed overseas. They could stand some cuts, too.

    3. The liberaltarian horse was never alive.

      Problem is that economic policy is THE central issue for most liberals.
      You can be a pro-gay-marriage, pro-choice, anti-war, drug-legalizing, vegan, hippie, but if you don't want a single payer health care system, if you don't hate capitalism, you're just as much a "right-winger" as Rush Limbaugh to them.

      1. That's because Liberals are a bunch of closet commies.

        1. Some of them are in glass closets with the door wide open though πŸ˜‰

        2. Historically this is interesting. One of the complaints of early feminists (mid 19th Century) was that their friends in the various socialist movements always told them "hey let's get this class struggle thing taken care of, then we can look into the whole oppressive patriarchy thing." All the while classical liberals like Mill (before he went all socialist) and the great Herbert Spencer (before he got old and crotchety) were pretty radical feminists. The only way that peace, gender solidarity, class division, racial equality,individualism can be brought about is through a society that diminishes (or preferably eliminates) the state. A free market society wouldn't guarantee a libertarian social order, but a libertarian social order is only achievable in a libertarian government/economic order.

  13. Now that the Cold War and the culture war are over, what remains is the class war.

    Actually, you moron, the leftists have always been fighting a class war.

    They're only whining about it now because its become perfectly apparent, and people don't much care for it.

    What's funny is, he wants to keep fighting his class war, while complaining when those of us who aren't Marxist retreads fight back.

  14. I'm a bit sad to see that the loathsome joe didn't comment on Thoreau's post.

  15. I think the association with Ayn Rand is supposed to be a smear here, and if you read it that way, what we're looking at is a poorly attempted straw man.

    ...but then there are weird little nuggets like this too:

    "Obama's instinct is to appease those who attack him, so there is a danger that he might move (further) to the market fundamentalist right."

    You know how archaeologists look at a pottery fragment and it tells them something about the people who made it?

    Well looking at that choice bit, I think this guy might be delusional.

    There's something really weird that happens to liberals when they get into power--in fact, it seems to happen every time they get into power, where they just cannot believe the people don't want what they want...

    When it finally starts to occur to them that, yeah, people really have heard all about your Big Plan--and they reject it wholeheartedly! ...it leads to this existential crisis for them.

    How could the people not want what we're selling?

    What am I here for?

    At least they're starting to recognize that people aren't rejecting their plans out of ideology or programming or propaganda from the Bully Pulpit.

    I'd expect fault lines to start showing between the honest liberals, who really are about what the people want, and those on the other side, who think the people need to be both led to water and made to drink.

    The next few weeks should be amusing.

    1. yep.. straight out of the road to Serfdom... we're at the stage when the Guys with A Plan are now in charge, but not evil enough to force the plan on everyone.... next step? The worst more violent "men of action" who can "get it done" rise to the top....

  16. Hatred is always a mask for fear; you can smell the fear behind Lind's vitriolic rant (always gives me a chuckle when I hear people that support human rights and freedom being damned as "fundamentalists", what does that imply for the person doing the damning? They reject freedom and human rights?) And a nice sprinkle of anti globalization xenophobia at the end too. If you think domestic corporations are bad just wait until the freakin' foreigners join in the non-existent "class war" and fight against you! The slit-eyed people will make Mobil executives look wholesome!

    And these "progressives" accuse us of basing our ideology on xenophobia, irrational fear and hatred?

    I think we may be winning the "war" my fundamentalist Randrodian-nerd friends.

  17. Well, libertarians do favor an ideology that, if put into practice, would probably result in the eradication of programs like Social Security and Medicare. Lind is clearly trying to highlight this because of the general popularity such programs have with the voting public. It's classic Democrat. His purpose isn't to truly claim a Randian takeover of the GOP; it's to use the recent Republican anti-government-in-all-of-its-manifestations stance against them.

    1. People realize those programs were broken from the start but, having paid into them, they want their "cut".Can you blame them? Means testing would be a good start to "eradication".

      1. If people "realize this," they don't show it.

  18. Liberal jackass writing in [Salon / The Nation / etc.] conflates Rand with all libertarians with the political right, makes snarky commentary.

    Stop the presses!

  19. Back at Berkeley some cat in Sproul Plaza handed me an early draft of this manifesto... written with the author's favorite Sharpie, illustrated, and photocopied. It makes a lot more sense stapled to a telephone pole.

  20. On its face, his column fails because whatever you think of Rand, she is not and was not by anyone's definition an isolationist. Most Objectivists take a hardline approach to foreign policy. Truthfully I believe many people who call themselves "conservatives" are actually libertarians who (correctly) believe that a strong vigorous national defense is a core responsibility of the federal government. But in any case, Rand was not an isolationist and most of self-identified Objectivists are not either.

    Also, the congressman I could call "Randian" in any manner would include Ron Paul, Jeff Flake, Paul Ryan and........

    1. National "Defense".

      Department of "Defense"

      Not "Department of Foreign Wars"

      Not "Department of Attack"

      1. The Jeffersonian Republican is right, and you (and most of the too young, too inexperienced libertarians I see here) are wrong on this. It's worse than idiotic to think that you can merely "defend" yourself at your national border. Any student of warfare can tell you what happens when you hunker down behind your walls: you inevitably lose the fight.

        In a world literally teeming with hatred (of capitalism and freedom and religious liberty), evil, and proliferating weapons, the only way the American people can defend their interests is by going on offense in many cases.

        Posting your small militia along the border may be a libertarian fantasy, but it doesn't get the job done. Just one of the harsh realities that libertarians (and I do consider myself one) need to face.

        1. I don't actually agree with this at all, and I would argue that I'm not particularly naive on this topic.

          The thing that I think you're missing here is that a lot of the current dangers we face are a direct result of our hamhanded use of the military throughout the last 70 years.

          The thing is, if you take away the aggressive posturing, and you quit sending the massive power of the US military around the world on a whim to influence other nations' internal affairs or to beat up on people our government doesn't like that much, and instead replace that with an attitude of encouraging trade and military non-interventionism I think the level of dangers would be greatly diminished.

          As a result, we would find that an effective team of border guards & maybe a series of highly trained special ops guys would be enough to handle the vast majority of problems we might ever actually face.

          I'm not saying there aren't people who hate freedom - of course there are, a shitload of them live right here in the US, as it turns out! I'm also not saying that there aren't people out there who hate America... There are tons of them too. But most of those seem to have some justified cause for hating America and if we actually took the time to learn how to stop baiting such folks, the threat level would reduce substantially.

          Trade is a MUCH better cause for peace than any bigass military.

          1. Sean,

            I don't disagree with you and of course I prefer to simply "facilitate" a world in which peaceful free trade is possible, and rights to liberty and property are respected.

            OTOH, people have to realize that in every case of "blow back" we've experienced it was always as a result of making a difficult choice -- you don't get something for nothing, and to merely complain about the bad consequences without considering what the alternative would have been is unrealistic. I see liberals and libertarians doing this all the time.

          2. One of the main uses of our naval forces is to keep open trade routes....

        2. What, would the people who supported Ed Clark in 1980 be these "...too young, too inexperienced libertarians [you] see here"?

          Funny that people who are now almost all over fifty years old should be called "...too young, too inexperienced...".

          Just to remind everyone, the Clark campaign call for a seventy percent cut in the defense budget to be mostly brought about by ending or mutual defense treaties and turning the defense and especially the cost thereof) of Germany, Japan and Korea over to the Germans, Japanese and Koreans. That campaign was the most successful ever mounted by the LP.

          In the end though it wasn't even enough for the LP who turned Clark and his faction out for being insufficiently radical. You see, Clark called for these changes to be incremental, involving negotiations with our treaty partners. The Radical Caucus (Rothbard, Raimondo) wanted it all, right now.

          1. Libertarians letting the perfect be the enemy of the good? Never!

            75% of libertarians:
            "Candidate A is a socialist, candidate B is a big-government, warmongering, populist and candidate C is a small gov't conservative with a solid record to back it up. He's also socially liberal and has a very modest foreign policy viewpoint,...oh but look, he once praised the border patrol for doing a good job, so I guess I'm not voting again this year."

          2. Kinda similar to the current crop of authoritarian Democrats, who back in the 60's were urging people to question authority...

        3. There is something (in fact many things) in between massive global military presence and hunkering down behind borders, you know.

          If someone attacks us, blow them up. Use the Navy to keep trade route open if necessary. But this all could be done with 1/10th of the money we now spend on war shit (I prefer that term to defense).

          1. Afghanistan did attack us. There's no way we could have invaded it with a military budget 10% of its current size.

            1. Gee, sorry, I missed that whole Afghanistan attacking us thing.

              And the whole nation-building clusterfuck we're now engaged in is hardly an appropriate response to the erstwhile residents of Afghanistan who did plan an attack that was carried out by some Saudi Arabian and Egyptian nationals.

              Besides, i though it was Sadam Hussein that attacked us. πŸ™‚

  21. Wish I had $10* every time I've read one of these bizarre "GOP taken over by crazed libertarians" stories. Uh, what strange parallel universe are you in because I want to go there?

    *$10 in silver bullion! I am more or less a libertarian after all.

  22. Lind is still kicking around? Well, that makes me for one happy. It is nice to see the clowns come to realize everything they ever believed in has been refuted by events and history. Add this along with the 'Keynes Revival' to the carnival of fools in need of fun house mirrors for validation. His has always been an odd liberalism, even for liberals, as if he was in a constant seance with the ghost of Malcolm Cowley with little else informing him. The really funny thing about it, he doesn't know he is watching a side show of long staled over Social Democratic soft shelled Marxism. Classism! Really! He thinks that is the Main Event!

    What a fool.

  23. Oh, and Lind if you happen to see this -- just because you have traded your horsey wife off at a key party or two doesn't make you any less of a nerd than the guy who spends most of his evenings reading Heinlein or programming in assembly. You are a wonk, you are a nerd and judging by the insular nature of your thought processes, you even qualify as a freak. Glass houses, moats the size of planks, and everything.l

    1. My lawyer advises me that I should underline the fact, key party attendee wasn't a literal accusation, but a description of the disparate, intellectually and emotionally insecure type that Lind's writing reveals him to be on all occasions he puts fingers to keyboard.

    2. Alan, projection isn't just something done in movie theaters. Leftists are, for some reason, particularly susceptible to this particular psychological phenomenon.

      1. I was going to point out earlier today that one of the regular editors needs to find something newly minted by David Horowitz to critique for the sake of balance, but maybe all the crazy shit is really coming from the left of late. Perhaps, after eight years of defending Bush, the right is taking a break and will have some Frumish assholery for us to dillhole in the not too far off future. But if the two Davids I mentioned are in the Keys for now, drinking rum pumch and napping in hammocks for the next three years, I wouldn't blame them.

        1. need to get to bed, but a few corrections -- Frum is a dillhole, but his asshole rhetoric needs to be cornholed like a nun in a cheap Faulkner novel, and to avoid the mighty blade once more, change that 'far off future' to 'not too distant future'.

        2. And the left is taking a break after 8 years of protecting themselves from Bush's evil via tinfoil hats? Seriously though, throughout those 8 years who the most fanatical the Bush supporters or the Bush haters?

      2. As I told you in an earlier thread in a different context, "Set phasers to project!"

        How is it possible that "phaser" comes up as a spelling error in Firefox? That's just bizarre.

  24. . Now that the Cold War and the culture war are over, what remains is the class war. And in the class war, the libertarians are on the side of the classes.....

    This right there reflects a pretty significant departure from reality.

    Class war? Please. The the extent that class warfare was ever a significant force in American politics, it is long LONG over.

    Not only because the notion of "class" in America is deeply different from the European counterpart.

    But the idea that libertarians are on the side of "class" or "classes" is as close to "full retard" as you can get in a political discussion.

    Libertarians are not on the side of "the rich" except in the paranoid fantsies of liberals, or maybe in the minds of leftists who have falled for their own propaganda.

    Libertarians are on the side of *freedom* irregardless of, and blind to "class", (whatever that is). A person, in other words, should, not be subject to different rulies because he or she has more money.

    To the extent that the notion of "class" even makes any sense in a libertarian framework is as a decriptor for the identity politics and interst groups that animate the welfare state. We don't have people voting in income-based blocks. We do see them voting in racial blocks, ethnic blocks, victim-group blocks, public sector workers, unions, etc. Those are the only "classes" that have any functional relevance on the America political spectrum. And to that extent, libertarians are against "class" and "classes", because we don't think any individual should be suchect to different regulations, or the recipient of special proviliedge on the bassis of membership in a class.

    If anything, the leftist effort to endow certain groups with special institutionalized benefits comes a lot closer to the system of aristocracy in which legally enforced "classes" of people actually do exist.

    1. My keyboard is the problem, not me.

      1. Oh yeah, without a doubt. Absolutely! πŸ˜‰

  25. From where I sit, I see some useful idiots for the GOP in the libertarian ranks, but I see precious little libertarianism animating the Republicans.

    As opposed to the useless idiot that Thoreau has proven to be.

    I don't know his affiliations and acquaintances but for the most part i flounder alone outside the web in a sea of conservatives. One thing i have seen among these conservatives is an openness to criticism of the Bush years and the excesses of the Republican past. To be fair i mostly deal with these people on land use issues so it may be hard to gauge the strength of their conviction on this.

    Anyway back to Thoreau. we still do not know who he is or where he lives or what kind of real life exposure he has with libertarians conservatives and republicans. It is his choice to be Mr anonymous which is his right but to take what he says without any context makes his analysis worthless.

    1. I think there is a real and fairly vocal minority of libertarians in the GOP. Problem is, they don't set policy. There's not much power in winning and turning off switches, after all.

      1. You know, there could be a lot of jobs needed to turn off those switches!

    2. Anyway back to Thoreau. we still do not know who he is or where he lives or what kind of real life exposure he has with libertarians conservatives and republicans. It is his choice to be Mr anonymous which is his right but to take what he says without any context makes his analysis worthless.

      Actually, all those things are well known to anyone who follows his postings at UO, and us OG H&R commenters.

  26. OK. I guess I'm just a dumb libertarian. I've never read anything by Ayn Rand and I still believe in smaller government, personal freedom, economic liberty, etc.

    Liberals/progressives/statists love to
    take a polarizing figure, attach evil to that person and then associate people with views they don't like to that figure. For libertarians, it's Ayn Rand.

    I just love how Lind (and most liberals) put libertarianism on the right. Being fiscally conservative and socially liberal puts libertarianism in neither right or left. Putting it on the right makes it easier for liberals/progressives/statists to demonize and discredit.

    And as for "in the class war, the libertarians are on the side of the classes", WTF are you talking about Lind? Liberals are the experts on class warfare.

    You can see the liberal/statist cause explained in one sentence "Ryan would use a national value-added tax (a good idea) to replace income, capital gains and estate taxes (a terrible idea)." Increasing taxes - good idea. Reducing taxes - bad idea. You can't keep more of your money - you don't know what to do with it but government does.

    "The media is building Ryan up as a serious thinker. Build him up even more, I say. Give him a Nobel Prize, like Obama's." Yes, because Obummer did so much in his first 12 days in office (and so much since then).

    1. It's not that we are socially liberal and fiscally conservative, the left pretends to be socially libertarian and the right pretends to be fiscally libertarian.

  27. There are lots of people who admire Rand's description of government nanny staters and rent seeking capitalists without buying into her schoolgirl superhero fantasies. She had deep insight into certain negative aspects of human nature, and those aspects have been vividly on display for the last several years. To say that those who cite those ideas must accept all of her ideas is fallacious and lazy - typical.

    1. And, if they actually read Atlas they would know that in the book, as in real life, government interference helped not the poor but the bureaucrats' corporate chums.

  28. "The American conservative movement enjoyed its successes only after William F. Buckley Jr. expelled Rand and her followers from the movement in the late 1950s."

    Riiiight. Nixon defeated Kennedy and Goldwater won in a landslide. Buckley "expelled" Rand? Even Rand's rabid detractors would concede that she was too much of an egoist and individualist to belong to someone else's "movement," especially one that is, in her words, "[F]utile, impotent and, culturally, dead. They have nothing to offer and can achieve nothing. They can only help to destroy intellectual standards, to disintegrate thought, to discredit capitalism, and to accelerate this country's uncontested collapse into despair and dictatorship." ("Conservatism: An Obituary," 1960)

    1. It appears her prediction was correct.

    2. Nixon was hardly a conservative. He certainly did not describe himself as such in 1960.

      Otherwise good points.

    3. I'd forgotten that piece. Man, she was right on with that one. Conservatism today is actively anti-intellectual.

  29. When there is no libertarian running for an office, I vote for the Republican. They share my values more than the Democrats do.

  30. When someone is as gleefully anti-individualist as Lind there, it ought to be considered righteous self defense to smack them in the goddamn mouth. With a sock full of nickels.

    1. Perversely, it's the "progressives" who are the most politically atavistic. Ominously, half the country subscribes to their recycled brand of collectivism.

      1. ed,

        Hayek explained why this is so in The Fatal Conceit. Read it some time; I think you'll enjoy it.

  31. When there is no libertarian running for an office, I vote for the Republican.

    I write myself in. That way i KNOW my views will be represented.

  32. The libertarian/right-wing theory can be easily disproven by lurking around on FreeRepublic. Note how many big-government Republicans there are on that website, and their loathing of anything approaching libertarianism - except for the parts they like, that is.

  33. Kolohe's comments in the Unqualified Offerings thread are definitely worth reading.

  34. What's really telling of their lack of insight into Randism or libertarianism is that they think both are equivalent to corporatism.

    1. Even among some really good libertarian thinkers the caricature of Rand as a shill for big corporations is too prevalent, usually stemming from her calling big business a persecuted minority. I am not a big Rand guy by any means, but it seems to me that the bad guys in Atlas Shrugged were big businessmen first and government officials second. Rand for whatever her flaws, was not a supporter of state capitalism.

      1. To the left, anyone with any appreciation of Rand at all, is suspect. Even if one has never read her work.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.