Reason Writers Around Town: Nick Gillespie on The Lessons of L'Affaire Weigel & Just Who The Hell is a Libertarian Anyway?


Writing in The Daily Caller, Reason's Nick Gillespie takes a shot at defining just what makes someone libertarian:

In the wake of l'affaire Weigel, so much is at stake for the things that matter to journalists and their enablers (read: you, gentle reader). What, for instance, is a ratfucker exactly, and is being one a good thing or a bad thing? Can journalism withstand the apparent insistence that reporters not trash-talk sources like former members of N.W.A.? Can the MSM really move into a blog-based commentary space with anything more barbed than Howard Huge or Love Is… cartoons?

And perhaps most important for all of us in the libertarian movement (you know who you are and I'll pick you all up in my Ford Festiva on the way home): Just what the hell are our membership guidelines?…

Only John Galt knows what the most basic requirements of libertarianism are. Folks ranging from Bill Buckley to Noam Chomsky to Clint Eastwood have described themselves as partly or wholly libertarian, so maybe it has something to do with speech impediments, dumb politics, and the ability to marry younger and younger women as you approach 1,000 years old. Believe it or not, even some girls have called themselves libertarian, including the two ladies who were the top editors at Reason long before The Nation dared top its masthead with a member of the second sex.

First and foremost, libertarians like liberty, the idea that individuals have as much space as possible to make as many choices as possible (there's a reason that Reason's most recent anthology is called "Choice"). And unlike conservatives and liberals, who always fetishize some choices and demonize others, we're pretty consistent. We generally like school choice and reproductive choice, for instance, and think you should have your choice of religion (including none at all) too, and drugs, and partners in life and business.

Whole thing here.

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  1. J’accuse!

  2. Funniest recent person to call himself a “libertarian”? Bill Maher. Hey, I don’t mean Maher’s funny, he isn’t. I mean his claims are inadvertantly humoress.

    His “libertarianism” consists of him thinking he should do anything he likes, but reckons a bloated massive government should control the lives of the “others.”

    In other words he’s a libertine socialist.

    1. Cass Sunstein – libertarian paternalist.…..patLaw.pdf

      1. Sad and pathetic isn’t it?

        The dictionary definition of an oxymoron.

        If he was Mama Cass Sunstein I suppose he’d think of himself as a libertarian maternalist

        1. Badda-boom!

      2. Libertarian Paternalist – that would be Big Father??

    2. Maher is the typical cafeteria libertarian. He tries to get by without philosophical fundamentals, and succeeds only in exposing himself as inconsistent and foolish.

      1. I hereby declare the word ‘cafertarian’ coined and the word of the day.

        1. Nice Warren, I like it.

        2. I may not agree with your desire to eat a live octopus (see the movie “Oldboy”), but I will defend your right to eat it to the …well, I am not going to die for you eating an octopus…but you get the idea.

          Except people who eat lima beans – they are an abomination!

          1. I defend the lima bean eaters to the death so you don’t have to.

      2. I don’t even know what your libertarian philosophical fundamentals are, but I’ll bet anything they are full of holes. Any libertarian who thinks he can figure out what position to take on every issue under the sun based solely on philosophical fundamentals is deluded. The only way to analyze complex real-world issues with any success is a “triangulation” based on as many analytical frameworks as possible: theoretical, practical, empirical, etc.

        1. Ok then, ask away. Stump us. But I somehow think that you’re not gonna be satisfied when the answer to most of your questions is “stay the fuck out of it and let people live their lives”.

          1. Stump you on the principle “stay the fuck out of it and let people live their lives.” OK, I’ll play: Your 13-year-old daughter wants to run away with her 33-year-old boyfriend and join the Hare Krishnas. Just stay out of it?

            1. Interpersonal relationships between myself, my daughter, and a Hare Krishna is none of your concern. Stay the fuck out of it.

              See? Simple.No new legislation required.

              1. I asked what YOU would do.

                1. I thought you wanted a liberterian position on “issues”. My daughter being stupid isn’t a political issue. Legislating specifically for that occurrence would make it an “issue”. I say don’t. Thorny personal problems shouldn’t be politics, regardless of how much someone wants to cede all responsibility for their lives to the state.

                  1. I was working up to the issue part. But you’re avoiding the question. What would you do in this situation?

                    1. Then how about we just go straight to your “gotcha” issue without me laying out the several pages of contingency plans I would have depending on her answer to “no”. I think I know where you’re going, but it’d be nice if you just say it already. Since you’re determined to make me guess, I’d have to say that her right to self determination (at 13) is subordinate to my control, since I’m on the hook for many of the crimes she could commit and all of the property damage she can do. Liability is a fairly simple issue. If she can get herself emancipated (and I think that anyone at any age should be able to) then my liability is gone and I obviously no longer have any say in the matter.

    3. Pam Geller, who runs a web site called “Atlas Shrugs,” threatened to sue PayPal for discriminating against her.

      Although the Ayn Randian position is that Americans don’t have a right to health care, a place to live, nor a job, Ms. Geller believes that she has a right to use PayPal’s services.

      Her followers claimed that her actions were justified because PayPal violated its contract with her. They had obviously never read the contract, and are unfamiliar with adhesion contracts in general.

      1. I can understand thinking she had no right to file a lawsuit, but the asshole in the link you posted thinks she also shouldn’t have drummed up anti-Paypal outrage.

        That, of course, is crap.

        If Paypal decides to terminate my account, regardless of whether it’s in the contract or not if I want to whip up anti-Paypal rage and drag their name through the mud I have every right to do so and it doesn’t contradict libertarianism in the slightest. The default position is I get to slag you any time I want, if I feel like it or if you have annoyed or offended me. I don’t need a contractual excuse.

        1. Exactly. People never seem to get that. Yes, of course PayPal has a right to serve whomever they want. If they think she is an “extremist”, then they can say no. But that doesn’t make them immune to criticism. People never seem to understand that yes you can do what you want. But, other people have a right to comment and criticize you for it. It goes both ways.

        2. > I can understand thinking she had no right to file a lawsuit,
          > but the asshole in the link you posted thinks she also
          > shouldn’t have drummed up anti-Paypal outrage.


          I am the asshole in the link I posted.

          Since this is the Internet, where sarcasm and snark often come across the wrong way, let me start off by saying that the following is not intended as neither. I always appreciate (or try to, anyway) criticism of my writing. If I fail to get a point across, then I should be the first suspect for the failure of communication. Since the editor of asked me to be a regular contributor to his site, it’s vital I get better at the craft — for the sake of his reputation and mine.

          As the author of “Atlas Shrugs the Troops,” it was not my intention to suggest that Pam Geller should not have drummed up outrage at PayPal. I’m all for drumming up outrage. One of the reasons I agreed to write for Paranoia Today is to draw attention and outrage toward the practices of HOA corporations, which I believe are one of the biggest threats to individual private property rights and home ownership in America today.

          Upon re-reading “Atlas Shrugs the Troops,” I think you are mistaken that I implied Ms. Geller should not have whipped up outrage against PayPal.

          What I did do was compare and contrast the outrage expressed by conservatives, libertarians, and other self-proclaimed Ayn Randians toward PayPal to the lack of outrage against the Heritage Lakes HOA corporation for foreclosing on the $300,000 house of Michael and May Clauer to collect $800 in HOA dues, and then selling their home for $3,500 to pay the HOA’s attorney. This was especially egregious because it was done while Michael Clauer was deployed to Iraq with the Army. Since the story was first reported by a local TV station just before the Memorial Day weekend, I expected the national media, or at least conservative pundits, to be all over it. But as I pointed out in “Atlas Shrugs the Troops,” the only national media outlet to publicize the story was the left-wing Mother Jones.

          What was done to Michael and May Clauer was far worse than what PayPal did to Pam Geller, and should have generated much more outrage. But it did not. That was my point.

          If you still believe that I stated or implied that Ms. Geller should not have been critical of PayPal, or that PayPal is immune to criticism, please point out the offending passage in my article. I will edit it to correct my mistake and give you credit for pointing it out.

          That said, I still stand by my belief that Pam Geller is a hypocrite for threatening to sue PayPal. And that those who were outraged by Pam Geller’s ordeal, while ignoring the plight of homeowners like the Clauers, should re-examine their priorities.

          1. So…because a group of people didn’t rally to your cause, they’re hypocrites? Even though you can’t be sure they even knew about it?

            1. > because a group of people didn’t rally to your cause, they’re hypocrites?
              > Even though you can’t be sure they even knew about it?


              Please point out where I say that, and I will correct it and give you credit.

              What I did say is that

              * Pam Geller, the publisher and editor of, is a hypocrite for threatening to sue PayPal. PayPal may have discriminated against her, but their contract gives them the right to do so.

              * Her supporters who claimed that her threat was justified because PayPal violated its contract, obviously had not read the contract, and are unfamiliar with the concept of adhesion contracts in general.

              * The right-of-center punditocracy who provided publicity for Ms. Geller should re-examine their priorities, especially since they tend to (1) be sympathetic to the Ayn Randian idea of contract law themselves, (2) support individual private property rights, (3) “support the troops,” and (4) oppose oppressive taxation.

              If I didn’t explicitly say it, I certainly meant to imply that the right-of-center punditocracy failed to point out Ms. Geller’s hypocrisy, instead choosing to give her positive publicity and moral support. In that sense, they — at least those that claim to be libertarian/Ayn Randian — are guilty of enabling Ms. Geller’s hypocrisy. But for that reason; not for their failure to inform their audience of the Clauer story.

              You are absolutely correct that many people didn’t know about the Clauer story; and I explicitly point out that the Clauer story was ignored by the mainstream media and right-of-center punditocracy. The punditocracy should have known about this story — especially given their ideological positions on home ownership and the “the troops.” They failed to inform their audience, leaving it to the left-wing publication Mother Jones to do so. The audience can’t be blamed for that.

              This wasn’t part of my thought process at the time, but Evan McKenzie pointed out that although everybody has been concerned about the cost of home ownership, and home foreclosure has been a major story for the past several years, the media and punditocracy has missed the connection that HOAs have to these issues. They have also ignored the unsustainable burdens that governments have placed on homeowners by mandating the creation of HOAs. (“On the Commons“. October 12, 2007, from 40 minutes 30 seconds to 51 minutes in the program). This is something that the private property rights crowd (including myself) has been guilty of for years.

          2. “…draw attention and outrage toward the practices of HOA corporations, which I believe are one of the biggest threats to individual private property rights and home ownership in America today.”

            You know that HOA’s are voluntary associations right? If you don’t want to live under HOA rules, live in a community where there isn’t a HOA. And if you are in a HOA and don’t like the rules, run for HOA board and change the rules.

            1. Voluntary insofar as you don’t have to join one if you can find a place for sale that isn’t part of one, sure. But the HOA is a feature of the house in most cases.

              1. correct: a FEATURE of the house. If you don’t like that feature, move on.

              2. I depends on where you’re at. In some areas, A HOA isn’t particularly common. In my town, buying a house without a HOA is just a matter of shopping a bit.

                In some places, they may be so common as to be impossible to avoid, but that’s hardly universal.

            2. > Voluntary insofar as you don’t have to join one
              > if you can find a place for sale that isn’t part of one, sure.
              > But the HOA is a feature of the house in most cases.

              Contrary to the myth that homeowners associations are a voluntary association of homeowners, they are the result of government policies that have incentivized and/or mandated the creation of developer-created mandatory-membership HOAs. Because government actions have distorted the market, it is impossible to determine how much of the growth of HOAs is supply driven vs demand driven.

              When over 80% of all new housing is built within CIDs/HOAs, consumers of new homes have very little choice if they want a newer home (say, less than 20 years old).

              But government interference with the housing market aside, there are other problems with the standard conservative and libertarian defense of HOAs. The obvious problem is that the theory of the benefits of privatized government doesn’t coincide with reality. HOAs are created and structured for the benefit of the local governments, developers, professional property management companies, and specialized attorneys. The homeowners are at the bottom of the food chain.

              The other problem is that HOAs lack several elements of rational choice required for a free market to work.

              * Consumers who give informed consent
              * Fully mobile consumers who are not constrained from taking their business elsewhere
              * A large number of communities that offer various levels of services and taxation, and variations in the governing documents
              * Corporations that are subject to market incentives to serve consumers

              I’ve been outlining an essay on the subject for a while. But I just found out that Evan McKenzie has already written a book on the subject (working title is “Private Communities and Local Governments”, but that may change before publication later this year by the Urban Institute).

              Like mandatory membership in a labor union as a condition of employment, mandatory membership in an HOA corporation as a condition of home ownership has many “features.” Which of these features do you think homeowners gave informed consent to when they signed that stack of papers handed to them at closing?

              * Governing documents that place obligations, responsibilities, and servitudes upon the homeowners, while reserving authority and power for the private government.

              * An undemocratic form of government, legitimized by elections that make the Chicago Machine look like the model of integrity and transparency. HOAs have the power of small governments, but are shielded as corporations.

              * An adhesion contract that one party can unilaterally amend.

              * An adhesion contract that gives the HOA corporation the right to foreclose on your home for trivial amounts and reasons.

              * Constant intrusion into your private property and private life by petty authoritarians.

              * Double taxation, where homeowners are required to pay property taxes for services that the county and municipality has off-loaded onto the HOA corporation, which the homeowners have to pay. HOA dues, aka assessments, are just another form of taxation, and extra revenue for the municipal and county governments.

              * A perpetual lien which makes your home forever collateral to whatever debts and liabilities the HOA corporation may create — even after the mortgage is paid off. As a corporation, which normally protects an investors personal assets, HOAs are a defective product.

              If the HOA system, as it exists in America today, is a manifestation of free-market libertarianism, something is seriously wrong with free-market libertarianism.

            3. > If the HOA system, as it exists in America today,
              > is a manifestation of free-market libertarianism,
              > something is seriously wrong with free-market libertarianism.

              A story published yesterday, at…..g-on-homes, illustrates the point. Excerpt below, emphasis added:

              Tue., June 29, 2010 3:39pm (EDT)
              Not So Neighborly Associations Foreclosing On Homes
              By Wade Goodwyn

              . . .

              And in 33 states, an HOA does not need to go before a judge to collect on the liens.

              It’s called nonjudicial foreclosure, and in practice it means a house can be sold on the courthouse steps with no judge or arbitrator involved. In Texas the process period is a mere 27 days — the shortest of any state.

              David Kahne, a Houston lawyer who advises homeowners, says that in Texas, the law is so weighted in favor of HOAs, he advises people that instead of hiring him, they should call their association and beg for mercy.

              “I suggest you call the association and cry,” he says.

              If a homeowner misses a couple of association dues payments, the $250 or $500 they owe often becomes $3,000 after the association’s lawyers add their legal fees, Kahne says.

              . . .

              Kahne says that as the economy has gone under, HOA management companies and lawyers have been making millions off homeowners through this foreclosure process.

              “We’re having literally thousands of lawsuits filed over very small amounts of money,” Kahne says. “And those very small amounts of money rapidly become large amounts of money when the association attorneys add their bills.”

              Suddenly faced with a demand that they pay $3,000 immediately or lose their home, many disbelieving homeowners don’t know where to turn.

              With the recession, foreclosure filings for delinquent HOA assessments in Texas have increased from about 1 percent of all home foreclosures to more than 10 percent currently, according to the industry.

              Over the past 20 years, HOAs have exploded across Texas. While there are 1,100 municipalities, there are now 30,000 HOAs. And these associations have far more power to take away a citizen’s home than any city or county in Texas.

              . . .

              In theory, HOAs are only supposed to foreclose for nonpayment of dues. But Solomons says that through a loophole in Texas law, in practice, HOAs can foreclose for nonpayment of HOA fines, too. [Republican state Rep. Burt] Solomons watched with frustration last year as his reform bill died in the Senate.

              What happened to Michael and May Clauer was an “isolated incident” only in the Balkonian sense of the phrase. As Kerry Howley wrote back in the November 2009 issue of Reason, “Not every threat to liberty is backed by a government gun.” In a “Common Interest Community,” every action, every demand, every fine and every fee imposed by an HOA corporation is backed with the threat of foreclosure.

              According to the conservative and libertarian apologists for HOAs, this is what the free-market and the profit-motive have brought us to — The Privatized Toll Road to Serfdom.

            4. > You know that HOA’s are voluntary associations right?
              > If you don’t want to live under HOA rules,
              > live in a community where there isn’t a HOA.

              I used to believe that, too. But in the real world, there are degrees of voluntary. Everybody needs a job, and everybody needs a place to live.

              Mandatory membership in an HOA as a condition of home ownership is voluntary only in the same sense that mandatory membership in a labor union as a condition of employment is voluntary. Neither the home buyer nor home seller have the right to negotiate the terms of the HOA adhesion contract.

              From a libertarian purist point of view, I suppose contracting yourself into slavery could be voluntary, also.

              But theory aside, governments have been mandating the creation of HOAs for several decades, leaving consumers of new homes (say, less than 20 years old) with little choice. Public policies regarding HOA corporations have created a massive distortion of the housing market.

              There’s a whole book deconstructing the libertarian myths about HOAs coming out later this year (working title is “Private Communities and Local Governments” by Evan McKenzie). I’m sure he’ll do a better job with an entire book than I could in a comment here.

              If a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged, and a libertarian is a conservative who’s been arrested, what do you call a libertarian who’s been abused by his HOA?

              > And if you are in a HOA and don’t like the rules,
              > run for HOA board and change the rules.

              The Board of Directors of an HOA corporation can deny home owners the right to vote or run for the board, simply by sending them a violation notice. And if a “dissident” is elected to the HOA corporation’s Board of Directors, the other board members can simply vote to remove him/her.

              Listen to the “On the Commons” interview with David Kahne (October 23, 2008), from 17 minutes 00 seconds to 19 minutes 45 seconds.

              I’ve looked at my HOA’s governing documents, and they give the Board of Directors the same powers mentioned by Kahne. And my HOA isn’t even in Texas!

              But putting aside your whole “love it or leave it” and “nothing to see here, move along” attitudes, Fluffy addressed the right to be critical of a corporation’s business practices earlier in this thread. Or should the comments section here at Hit & Run be closed to everybody who has not run for public office and/or refuses to leave the city/ state/country whose government(s) they criticize?

          3. If your summary is correct, of course the Clauers got screwed and there should be outrage. But they had no public profile before this, while Geller has a controversial blog. Plus, Geller had a good case that PayPal was enforcing it’s rules selectively: pro-jihad sites had PayPal and pro-jihad DVDs are sold on eBay, but an anti-jihad site got declared a “hate” site.

    4. How about this as a rule:

      You can call yourself a libertarian if Mises, Hayek, Nozick, Rand, and/or Friedman would have probably agreed with the vast majority of your economic and political views.

      That rules out the posers and crazies like Chomsky, Nader, Maher, Weigel, Alex Jones, and the birthers and truthers.

  3. It’s all about a power structure that is bottom up instead of top down. That being said, I think that anyone who dogmatically follows anyone elses “platform” on what it means to be Libertarian, Conservative, or Liberal is a moron.

    1. So, you, what, only dogmatically follow your own platform?

      1. You mean my platform of sex, drugs, and rock n roll? Hells yes!

  4. Looks like Weigel got hired on as a MSNBC contributor.

    1. He’s what passes as a conservative at that pest hole.

      1. Still better than the other three “superstars” over there.

        1. True, and congrats to Weigel for keeping getting paid (even if it is dirty money).

          1. If the WaPo is true to its editorial principles, Weigel should be getting unlimited, open-ended severance pay.

            1. Plus overtime.

                1. That goes without saying.

                2. Weigel resigned. No severance.

                  Dave, when you ship that unicorn back remember to put some holes in the box. Throw in a little straw too.

          2. Hate to rain on the love-in, but IMO getting paid (and having a large circle of ‘friends’) was all Weigel ever cared about.

    2. …and he got himself a mention on Moonbattery as well.

      Truly, Weigel has arrived!

      1. A new word

        Weigel… the act of pretending you are something you are not for the purpose of personal advancement.


        Sonia Soyomayor weigeled her way on to the Supreme Court by pretending to support the 2nd Amendment, yet once ensconced, she voted against upholding individuals right to bear arms.

        1. I knew there had to be a coinage in there somewhere, but I couldn’t quite pin one down.

          Sir, I doff my cap!

          1. Cheers, doft away, slapper.

        2. I thought that term was already covered by the terms “to Frum” or “to Brooks”.

          1. I thought “Frum” was when (male) pubic hair was somehow showing despite the wearing of pants?

            1. Really? I was referring to David Frum. It is hysterical if that is what his name means.

              1. Heh heh, I know. I believe it was Warty’s idea to use Frum’s name for that term.

                1. I don’t remember that. Maybe SugarFree?

                  1. Maybe SugarFree. Perhaps even BakedPenguin? Dang, I wish I had a better memory…

                    1. marlok|3.25.10 @ 9:00PM|#

                      It’s time to name that hair that sticks out around the rims of tighty whities “frum.”

                      “Aw, dude, your frum’s showing.”


                    2. Thanks, SugarFree! What would I do without you?

                    3. You wouldn’t know so many things that bring you psychic distress.

                    4. Ha ha….true, actually.

                    5. Thanks for the credit, yo.

          2. “To weigel” is better. Because it reminds you of a slippery eel, slithering and hard to pin down on anything. PERFECT.

            1. Thanks. To WEIGEL has heft, even if I say so myself!

              And I do.

              1. EX: “Julian Sanchez has really weigeled his way up the asshole of the liberal Washington intelligentsia over the last few years, hasn’t he?”

          3. Um, no.

            But there is an actual word “Frum.” It’s a Yiddish adjective meaning “observant of religious law.”

            How Frum you are is actually a huge deal in “Modern Orthodox” Jewish communities. (It’s not-so-big a deal among ultra-orthodox haredim who are all presumed to be as devout as they can personally force themselves to be.)

            For a hilarious example, see the Orthodox Matchmaking service Frumster.

        3. Sotomayor made sure that Martin Armstrong stayed in prison. That his how she got made.

    3. At MSNBC, he’ll have less viewers than the number of readers he had at Reason.
      However, those viewers are more sympathetic to the whines of a pisher.

    4. little piss-ant weenie head bastard cornball turd will fit in just fucking fine there

  5. I’d love to be a fly on the wall the next time Nick runs into Weigel.

    1. Flies cannot survive the the aura of The Jacket.

      1. it’s got lasers!

        1. Those are lasers? I thought it was aura!

          1. I thought it was karma. Stinky leather karma.

            1. His leather don’t stink.

              1. Is it…unicorn leather?

                1. You know that constant call for interns at Reason? They’re always on the lookout for virgins, who can be used to lure in new unicorns for the jackets.

                  I understand the fare at Reason barbecues is…well, unusual.

                2. If we knew the answer to that, we would know if he were a replicant or not.

  6. That snippet of his “apology” really makes him sound like a dick.

  7. It seems that approval of choice is really only part of the story, and misses what is to me the most critical aspect of being a “genuine” libertarian — the firm commitment to a belief that removing choice from others is evil.
    That pretty handily removes Maher and Buckley and others of their ilk from the ‘ranks’ [heh] of “real libertarians”.
    I don’t get to choose that others cannot choose. period.

    no hugs for thugs,
    Shirley Knott

    1. Do you get to choose that others cannot choose to kill another person, for example?

      1. It’s evil, but offset by the good of preventing murder.

  8. The “pre-political tendencies and urges” that shine through Weigel’s every utterance are distinctly un-libertarian, and they always were. And who cares.

    WTF’s with this:

    Not only have we been in favor of gay marriage since starting out in 1968

    That puts you guys a year or two ahead of gay marriage as a public legal debate?and decades ahead of universal gay-cultural obligation to the “Get your laws into my bedroom!” cause, which didn’t happen until about fifteen years ago.

    You showed them?

    I’m not saying Reason wasn’t all gay-marry-happy in 1968. But if it was, REASON HATES FAGS heteronormative style, because with the exception of approximately two dudes, gays didn’t want to be lawfully wed in 1968.

    1. Really? They didn’t? You did a survey and found it was unanimous?

      I find it hard to believe that there wasn’t at least one gay couple in 1968 who would have liked to be able to exercise the option of getting legally married. Whether or not others did or didn’t want to avail themselves of that choice is immaterial.

    2. Gay marriage was a bit science fictiony at the time, like the threesome marriage in 1967 Nebula winner Babel17, but that would have been all the more reason why the earliest Libtards would have been for it since one indicator of libertarian membership is a love of science fiction.

      1. Damn, alan’s right. Seriously, his (humorous) logic is ironclad.

  9. What, for instance, is a ratfucker exactly, and is being one a good thing or a bad thing?

    Well if (as Weigel emailed to his leftist “circle of friends”) choosing which primary to vote in is “ratfucking” I’d say it is a good thing.Some people in both major parties think you shouldn’t have a choice in who is on the ballot in November.

    1. is being one a good thing or a bad thing?

      If both parties consent it is good.

  10. “and think you should have your choice of religion (including none at all) too,”

    Who on either right or left today thinks that people should not “have your choice of religion”? That is some pretty sorry strawmanning there.

    1. There are those who go around claiming that we are a Christian Nation.

      1. Claiming we are a “Christian nation” is different than claiming “you must be Christian”. The only people who claim that or anything like it live on compounds in Idaho or are radical Islamics.

        1. John, I think what Zeb is trying to point out, is that those Christian Nation folks stick my name down everyones’ throats at every possible chance. Be it through prayer in school or no alcohol sales on Sunday, they will seek to indocrinate your children or control what you do, based on their own sense of morale obligation. I didn’t die on the cross for that shit..

          1. Oh please. The liberals own all of academia and every public school in this country. I little more worried about their powers of indoctrination. And if you can’t raise your kid to think for themselves and make their own decisions about things, indoctrination or not, it is your own damn fault if the indoctrination works. I have never been a regular church goer and never been anything like the people you are so afraid of. And I have never given their efforts a second thought. The fear of “indoctrination” is just an excuse to beat anyone down who doesn’t agree with you. If is funny, you are so afraid of indoctrination by them, but you are terrified of them exercising their first amendment rights. Freedom means people do things you don’t like. If you can’t understand that or tolerate that, you are not a friend of freedom.

  11. Nick–the Johnny Cash of libertarian writers–hits an important note, though fleetingly. Without tolerance, there is no freedom. We’ve become a nation of homeowner association busybodies, a raft of scolds and pedants, a ship of rats… so maybe, just maybe, being a “ratfucker” is not an entirely bad thing.

    And sure, the big “L” libetarians are right about a lot of things… but many are such insufferable pricks that I would rather be adrift on one of Homer Winslow’s tempest-tossed craft than “seastead” with them.

    Freedom is good. Choice is good. Tolerance is what makes it all work.

    1. You are only as good as the people who make up your society. If your society is made up of a bunch of busybody no it alls, it is going to suck no matter how small the government is.

      1. Wrong. Every society has a range of people… including “non-busybodies.” The busybodies want to manage everyone else’s lives. The way they do this is through government. The more powerful the government–and the fewer rights possessed by individuals–the less freedom the non-busybodies have to make decisions for themselves. Sure, American society is going to suck no matter how small you make the government… but a smaller government means I don’t have to suck along with it.

        1. No. Some societies are way different than others. It is not just the government. It is the people. Go to a tribal society sometime. The people there value the tribe over the individual and think about things in a completely different way than you and I. Indeed, our society has changed in many ways. Some for the better and some for the worst. People tolerate government intrusions and community control today in ways they never would have in the past. That is not the government. That is the people.

          Westerners and Americans in particular are terrible narcissists. We really think the world revolves around and is like us. But it is not.

          1. Interesting points, John. Although you can hardly blame the Anglophone world for being narcissistic, given the success of the English language despite its confusingness. And, damn it, we’re the sons and the heirs and daughters and heiresses to the greatest traditions in Western phiosophy.

            But you’re right, there is a shit-ton of the world that’s heir to different intellectual traditions or maybe just tribal traditions.

    2. Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society.

      1. Without tolerance, our world turns into hell.

        1. I’d say the same of a world where nothing is intoleable.

          1. Well, Hell being an ‘extreme’ place, I’d say both situations would paradoxically exist at once in Hell.

      2. I refuse to accept intolerance.

    3. +1 for an indirect allusion to the “Raft of the Medusa”.

      1. +1 for continuing the rating system.

    4. Why are you intolerant towards insufferable pricks?

      1. Actually, I tolerate insufferable pricks. I have yet to shoot one, even in season.

    5. Why the HOA hatred? Yes, I get it, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere governed by an HOA. But if you don’t like HOAs, don’t buy a fucking house in an HOA community, it’s that simple. When people voluntarily agree to abide by certain restrictions, that should be their CHOICE and if they don’t want to abide by those restrictions, they can choose not to live in such a neighborhood. Its really pretty simple.

      1. Is this the wrong thread or just the wrong subthread for this comment? Because it seems like a non-sequitur here.

        1. It is the wrong thread, but there were two seperate commenters that went into the HOA bashing direction so I took the bait. my apologies.

          1. My comment about HOA busybodies was not meant as a comment on the nature of property contracts, but a comment on the people who generally serve on HOA boards. It’s like the difference between the concept of health code enforcement and the bureaucrats in the local health department.

    6. A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.

  12. ooh, is the alt-text a swipe at Julian Sanchez? Former reason staff members are just not having a good week.

  13. . What, for instance, is a ratfucker exactly, and is being one a good thing or a bad thing?

    It’s a term, coined by the Nixon White House for someone that pulls dirty tricks.

    1. I could totally see Weigel working for Nixon had he come of age in that era.

      1. Weigel would’ve been John Dean.

        You know it’s true.

        1. There is an interesting book that came out in the 1990s called “silent coup”. Dean was the biggest rat bastard of them all. He was worse than Liddy. But he was also slimy enough to be the first one to run to Congress and got made into a hero for it. That would totally be Weigel.

          1. I miss Liddy’s show 🙁

          2. Why do you think I made the comparison?

          3. Silent Coup? When you write an entire book about how it was Weinberger and the military and are later proven wrong, it kind of kills your point. It also makes your analysis of everything else happening at the time suspect.

            1. That book was never proven wrong. Dean sued Liddy over the book for libel but his suit was dismissed. And the book, while speculative, makes sense. I don’t know that it is true, but I suspect a lot of it is.

              1. I guess the name Mark Felt doesn’t ring any bells for you?

                1. So what they got “deep throat wrong”. That doesn’t mean the whole book was wrong. And they were right that Haig wasn’t deep throat, which is what everyone thought at the time.

                  1. I’m beating my head against a wall here. If your argument depends on who you think the source was or wasn’t and that’s proven wrong, a lot of your argument falls apart.

                    Also, the publisher settled with the Deans out of court on the libel case. If I recall, it was the part about Mrs. Dean being a call girl that got them pissed, not that Dean was the mastermind.

                    1. According to Wiki the case was dismissed. There is no mention of a settlement. The Deans didn’t get jack.

                    2. Really?

                      The Deans also sued St. Martin’s Press, publisher of Silent Coup. St. Martin’s settled the case for an undisclosed sum.

                      Try to get through the whole paragraph on Wikipedia when you use it to support your argument.

          4. The conversation is about Weigel and you used the phrase “rat bastard”? Are you kidding me?

            I thought it was de rigueur to say “ratfucker” at this point in time.

    2. The youngsters around here need to watch “All the President’s Men” sometime.

      1. You’d at least think the editor of the Daily Caller and former editor of Reason would be familiar with the term.

    3. weigel didn’t use it in that context in his emails. Examples included: cross primary voting, endorsement of candidates and “opposing President Obama’s policies”. Nice bag of dirty tricks there.

      1. Well, weigel is an idiot then 😉

      2. I dunno. Rush’s Operation Chaos and the O’Keefe stuff fits the definition, though it’s a bit of a stretch do call throwing Scozzafava under the bus ratfucking. For the Obama policy things, he seemed to say, “The Republicans are going to use dirty tricks to hamstring him” rather than merely opposing him.

        1. Rush’s Operation Chaos and the O’Keefe stuff fits the definition

          Only if you are a Democrat partisan or ACORN employee so I see where you are coming from;)

          A GOP partisan might consider the release of Bush’s DUI record on the eve of the 2000 contest as “ratfucking”.

          “Ratfucking” in the Nixonian sense would be more like what happened (futilely) in the recent SC GOP Gubernatorial primary or extreme push polling.Really more something illegal or unethical the perpetrator would want to remain safely detached from or deny.

          1. O’Keefe did break the law trying to lie into Sen. Landrieu’s phone room (which is what Weigel was talking about, since that’s what he was arrested for). I’d also call the forged TANG memo a ratfuck.

            1. So because someone is arrested that makes them guilty. That is a novel concept for a libertarian to hold.

            2. I’d also call the forged TANG memo a ratfuck.
              A failed ratfuck?
              More like “ratmasturbation”. CBS news did that to themselves.


          The second half of “All the President’s Men” describes ratfucking done to 1972 Democratic presidential candidates by employees of the Committee to Re-Elect Nixon.

          Ken Clawson, Nixon’s communications director, confessed to a ratfuck when he told how he forged a letter making it look like a Democratic candidate was a racist.

          A typical ratfuck is to falsely claim there’s a political rally for the opposition party, order 300 pizzas for delivery in the name of the party, and then nobody shows up.

        3. Ratfucking means crossing the line into blatantly unethical and probably illegal campaign practices.

          1. Like turning off the credit card verification for your on-line fundraising so ANYONE IN THE FUCKING WORLD could contribute however much they wanted?

            1. Hey, all 100 millions donations from the PRC were perfectly legal.

  14. “long on mea and short on culpa


    There are books on libertarianism that aren’t as comprehensive as that post. It says all that ever needs to be said on the subject.

  15. I think the easiest way to describe libertarianism is live and let live. I’m not sure where that puts reproductive choice, though.

    1. It depends on where you think life begins, assuming you are talking about abortion. If you are talking about access to contraceptives, then live and let live means just that. But it is more complex with abortion.

      I am not sure which he meant. But if Nick was talking about abortion, that is the kind of blithe, of course we are cultural liberals, kind of thinking that drives me nuts about Reason.

      1. It is another life as soon as it has unique DNA, despite the claims of some that it is just the same as the mother’s hair or fingernails.

        1. Rephrased, if it has human DNA that is not yours you shouldn’t kill it unless it is trying to kill you.

          1. By this logic, it’s OK for me to kill the guy to whom I donated my kidney.

            1. Well if he’s an asshole, sure.

            2. Maybe if he stole your kidney. Did you wake up in a tub of ice in the bathtub with a note to call 911?

          2. So… a woman is raped and become pregnant. By your logic, that woman has no right to end the pregnancy even though she was impregnated against her will. What then, the power of the State should be used to force her to bring the child to term? Or to punish her for ending the pregnancy?

            1. That took a while.

              No, she has no right to kill the baby. We already have remedies for unjustly killing people.

    2. I think the easiest way to describe libertarianism is live and let live.

      Aka the non-agression principle, aka the Golden Rule. To avoid confusion, don’t be a fetus.

      1. one Warty. Golden rule heh but true.

    3. A better description is “Live and let your corporate, polluting, union-busting, warmongering military-industrial-complex neighbor live.”

      1. Terri finally got the front door unlocked and opened. But as she turned to run outside, the sight of dozens of dead cats in the front yard stopped her cold. They had not been there two hours ago when she had run out to buy cigarettes, but now they blanketed the lawn, quiet and still. Terri turned back around.

        1. Let’s try staying on topic, shall we?

          BTW, they have creams for your problem nowadays.

      2. Don’t be his porn.

        1. Nobody wants to be a 600 pound sheep-fucking bukkake-covered tranny with a foot fetish.

          1. That’s a 600 pound sheep-fucking bukkake-covered midget tranny with a foot fetish.

            Get it right.

            1. Wait, is the midget 600 pounds or are the sheep 600 pounds?

              1. 600 punds sounds a fair price for a good sheep. Pretty steep price for a midget, though.

                1. Yeah, midget trannies are usually pretty cheap. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

                  1. Maybe we should ask Hobie. I bet he’d know.

      3. Hobie Hanson, You’re Weird

      4. And to that I say: “mmmmbop”

  16. How exactly do you work for a magazine for 2 years and not have a clue what it promotes?

    1. I wonder the same thing.

  17. Gillespie goes pretty savage on Weigel in the opening paragraphs. Good stuff!

  18. Weigel has an interview with National Review and it shows a profound lack of respect for “doing nothing.”

    I’m pretty sure no Libertarian would ever say:

    On some of the big Obama initiatives, I was like, “eww, this is awful” ? but I still thought we needed to get together and do this.

    And he relies way too much on “I thought that made sense at that time.”

    The WHOLE POINT of a libertarian (or any) ideology is that you don’t get suckered by glittery political promises.


    1. A slippery eel.

      1. Enough about Weigel’s slippery eel.

        1. It’s more like a slippery earthworm.

  19. (there’s a reason that Reason’s most recent anthology is called “Choice”

    Because you are compulsive liars at best, and deluded waifs at worst. You are comfortable with denial of choice as long as it’s not the BigBadGovernment doing it. If you are non-smoker who wants to choose to not breathe smoke at the bar you like, tough. If you are an Afro-American, you can’t choose to sit at a lunch counter if it’s run by a racist segregationist. A poor, hardworking plastic silverware factory worker can’t choose to unionize without going through a long, arduous process that is open to rigging by a greedy employer. (Just because your employer is cooler than cool doesn’t mean everyone is so lucky.)

    1. “You are comfortable with denial of choice as long as it’s not the BigBadGovernment doing it.”

      What if someone chooses to have sex with you and you do not want that person to do so? Are you OK denying that person such a choice?

      1. Rape isn’t the same thing as breathing. If you people can’t understand that, then it’s impossible for me to discuss things intelligently with you.

        1. You have not answered the question. I am trying to see how you think. Does one person have a right to deny sex to another person? If so, why? If not, why?

          1. You’re trying to trap me in my words so that you can discredit me in the future. Anyone with a brain can see that sex and smoking have nothing to do with each other.

            1. My question was not about smoking.

            2. I am trying to get to the root of your argument.

            3. You are doing a great job of discrediting yourself now. No need to wait for the future.

            4. Ah, but some people like to smoke afterwards.

              What if the person you just forced yourself on is a nonsmoker who doesn’t appreciate breathing second hand smoke?

              A puzzlement….

        2. “Rape isn’t the same thing as breathing”

          YOU LIE!!!

    2. Hobie, I choose for you to give me all of your possession and then never comment on this blog again. Will you deny me that choice? Don’t be a ratfucker.

    3. You can only have “freedom of choice” if you are allowed to deny it to others. Yeah, that makes sense. That is some quality work there Hobie.

      1. I agree with SF. Don’t be his porn.

    4. Fuck off, Dan T. Your idiocy shines through any new handle you make up.

      1. What happened to the porn directive?

    5. “If you are non-smoker who wants to choose to not breathe smoke at the bar you like, tough.”

      That is some convoluted bullshit. What if a smoker wants to chose to smoke at the bar he likes?

      Choice doesn’t mean you get to have whatever you want. It means you can choose among what is available. I don’t get to choose to walk into your house and shit on your bed either.

      1. What if the owner wants the whole place to be smoking? Shouldn’t that count?

        1. Good question. Reason Libertarians would be copathetic with that.

          1. a typing lisp, weird

    6. Hobie Hanson, You’re Weird

    7. “deluded waifs”

      I don’y think waifs means what you think it does.

      1. waif

        1. a person, esp. a child, who has no home or friends.

        2. something found, esp. a stray animal, whose owner is not known.

        3. a stray item or article: to gather waifs of gossip.

        4. (Nautical) . waft .

      2. “Inconceivable!”

    8. A poor, hardworking plastic silverware factory worker can’t choose to unionize without going through a long, arduous process that is open to rigging by a greedy employer.

      Actually, they can. That doesn’t mean the boss won’t fire them, but it’s his property.

      1. Bar owners can allow smoking in their bars in New York. That doesn’t mean the government won’t fine them, but it’s the government’s city.

        See how that works?

        1. Must make perfect sense to you authoritarians.

        2. A woman can walk down the street in Iran without a veil, that does not mean the authorities will not throw her in jail.

          See how that works?

          1. The government should fine Reason for letting Hobie post here (and also whoever sold Hobie a pc and an internet connection). They’re taking away my ability to choose to read H&R without being exposed to ratfuckers. In fact, where’s my freedom to choose to live in a ratfucker-free world? They should just lock Hobie and his kind in a basement somewhere and forget to feed them.

  20. Fuck you, Gillespie. Your brand of libertarianism amounts to the worship of the market. People who don’t have decent health care and/or are out of work, or are subject to the numerous other vicissitudes of the market have greatly diminshed choices. You ratfuckers just don’t get it.

    1. Max|6.24.10 @ 3:29PM|#

      Go suck ron puals dick, morons. You peeple are fucking retarded. I`m done coming to this wingnut sight. this is my last post.

    2. Yes, Edward. If you have less money, you can buy less stuff.

      1. I have been noticing a lot of troll sockpuppets running around. Yesterday it was “I am too smart” or something. Are those all Edward or Dan T?

        1. I don’t come here enough any more to care about the trolls much. But I am curious too.

        2. I think that they are getting frustrated. The problems inherrent to big government are becoming more obvious to many, many people. People are starting to read Hayek and Ayn Rand and George Orwell and others and it scares the progressives.

          1. Yeah. The Wall Street Journal had an editorial on Hayek yesterday. The comments section was appalling. It was nothing but people throwing invective. And this was the Wall Street Journal readers not the Daily KOS. They really have run out of rational arguments.

            1. Did they ever have any?

              1. It was nothing but people throwing invective.


                [deep breath, repeat]

          2. > People are starting to read Hayek
            > and Ayn Rand and George Orwell and
            > others and it scares the progressives.

            George Orwell was a socialist.

            It would be a mistake for the Tea Partiers to claim him as one of their own.

            The central problem?how to prevent power from being abused?remains unsolved. Dickens, who had not the vision to see that private property is an obstructive nuisance, had the vision to see that. ‘If men would behave decently the world would be decent’ is not such a platitude as it sounds.
            “Charles Dickens” (1940)

    3. You ratfuckers just don’t get it.

      That you Dave?

      1. Weigel and Max the same person? Hmmmm?

        1. I think you mean Weigel and Marx. Great similarities, but they are different people.

    4. First of all, lousy health care, poverty, and lots of grueling work for little reward are the default conditions of human beings. Built on that foundation of the shitty natural state of mankind, in this country, we have lots of market activity and lots of government activity.

      You summarily attribute all the human misery we see around us to markets. Ever consider that the misery was there in the first place, and markets are helping us escape it? Or that government interference in markets might be adding to the misery?

      1. Don’t expect an answer – Max is no thinker.

  21. Can someone please photoshop Weigel’s face in between Ayn’s legs? Thanks.

    1. That’s a tough spot to get rosacea.

  22. “(you know who you are and I’ll pick you all up in my Ford Festiva on the way home): Just what the hell are our membership guidelines?…”

    I would not belong to a club that took me as a member.

  23. I love “long on mea, short on culpa”.

    “More freedom, less government” also works as a start.

    An, FTW, Warren and “caferterian.” That just rules.

  24. Hey! Didn’t we all donate a bunch of money some time back in order to not see this image any more? And where’s all the Lobster Girl we were promised? I call shenanigans!

  25. Ford Festiva and leather jacket qualifies for membership, even if your drivers license is up to date.

  26. As a teenage “libertarian socialist”, I can understand Chomsky’s claim to being “libertarian”. “Libertarian” in the political spectrum was first used by the socialist anarchists trying to find a more acceptable label. The fucked up part though, is the Chomskyites who want to remove the state also want to allow it more tyranny in a capitalist society.

  27. “The fucked up part though, is the Chomskyites who want to remove the state also want to allow it more tyranny in a capitalist society.”

    I am not sure I understand you. How can something that does not exist be tyrannical?

  28. Nice article. I don’t think it was necessarily Weigel going all paultard or anything else he may have written on its face. It was always the underlying feeling that he was shilling, or not actually putting his values into his what he wrote. The emails showed just that. I have hard time believing internal emails between reason staff differ all that much in opinion from what they write. (I’m sure there are more goat fucking jokes.) That level of intellectual honesty was missing from Weigel’s work IMO.

    Who knows, maybe I’m naive to think that, but that’s the vibe I get.

  29. I bequeath my share of Lobster Girl to Jake Boone.

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