Libertarian History/Philosophy

Where Do Libertarians Belong?


I'm with Lemmy!

The Brink Lindsey/Jonah Goldberg/Matt Kibbe debate in our August/September issue on where libertarians should forge and sever political ties, in addition to producing a cracking good time at the Reason compound last night, has provoked a lot of thoughtful commentary out there. A partial list would include Ilya Somin, Arnold Kling, David Frum, David Henderson, Glenn Reynolds, Brian Moore, and Daniel Thompson. If you see others, please leave them in the comments, and I'll update.

Meanwhile, on the same day Jonah Goldberg was at Reason, Rand Paul paid a visit to National Review….


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  1. In the dustbin of history?

    1. On the head of a pin?

      1. That’s dancing on the head of a pin.

    2. Where does Edward belong? FUCK YOU GO SUCK RON PALUS COCK

      1. Who is Ron Palus?

    3. The question was “where do libertarians belong”, not where do authoritarians belong. Read more carefully, Max . . .

    4. You would be a much more tolerable troll if you could either 1.) offer a substantive critique and/or 2.) be funny.

      1. If he offered a substantive critique he wouldn’t really be a troll.

        But he is, and a lame one.

    5. Working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, in a sweat shop making $0.47/hour; paid not in legal tender, but script that is only redeemable at the Ayn Rand Inc. company store.

  2. Left field?

    1. The highest bidder?

  3. I just read all three in the print version recently, and thought that both Lindsey and Goldberg wrote theirs well, and made good points, but Kibbe was just deceptive with his attempt to portray the Tea Partiers as something other than disgruntled Republicans.

    1. I actually read them all, and I did not see a single one of them ever conceding that Libertarianism is about achieving liberty as the ultimate goal. The three of them simply flew off really silly tangents.

      1. Lindsey had to off on a silly tangent. He is the guy who in 2006 thought “libraltarianism” was the way to go. Obama has made a bigger fool out of Lindsey than anyone. Better to go off on a tangent and avoid that unpleasant reality.

        1. Better to admit one’s mistakes and proceed chastened but wiser.

  4. I used my copy to kill a really big cricket-like insect. But I had never seen a giant, hairy striped cricket before. Anyway, it was juicy enough to get the mag stuck to the floor.

    Maybe I’ll read the article soon.

    1. Grasshopper?

    2. A camelback cricket

  5. Kookamunga (sp?)

  6. Cato’s economic prescriptions are respected by only one of the major political parties, and it’s not the Democrats.

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Jonah Goldberg is the spawn of Satan.

    1. There are plenty of things to disagree with Jonah on, but I would think the item you quote in italics is one of the things he is actually marginally correct on.

      1. Then you are too retarded to tell the difference between rhetoric and action.

        If anything the Reps are more despicable than the Dems because they claim to be our friends when they’re out of power. The speed ans zeal with which they plunge the knife in our backs as soon as their ass hits the thrown speaks to the festering puss that is the soul of their party.

        Dante reserved the lowest level of hell for the betrayers. Republicans are the evilest of all American political species.

        1. “If anything the Reps are more despicable than the Dems because they claim to be our friends when they’re out of power.”

          And the Democrats never claimed to care about the Patriot Act or the war in Iraq. Jesus Warren you are fucking cheap date.

          1. Both the PATRIOT ACT and the Iraq War were Republican initiatives, passed and engaged by Republican Executive and Congress over half-assed objections of Democrats. While campaigning Dems went on and on about what horrible people the Reps are because of the War and then didn’t do much about it.

            Dems are scummy liars too. But their halfhearted double talk doesn’t hold a candle to the GOPs half-century long habit of making fiscal responsibility the centerpiece of their rhetoric when there’s a Dem in the White House, only to enact even greater irresponsibility as soon as they’re able.

            1. A majority of Dems in the Congress voted for the Iraq war. An overwelming majority of them voted for the Patriot Act. Then they spent the next five years pretending none of that happened and they would change things. Then in 2008, they won and nothing changed.

              Their entire existence depends on the stupidity of people like you. It is really brilliant. They have managed to brand themselves as the party of the elite. So people like you will forgive anything they do just so you can feel special.

              1. Therefore, vote Republican!

            2. “” over half-assed objections of Democrats.””

              Feingold was the only one who really objected. That’s not even half-ass.

              1. With the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act anyway.

              2. I think the Patriot Act passed like 98-2 in the Senate.

                1. Yes – if I recall, Paul & Wellstone were the only two dissents, both based their reasoning on the fact they didn’t have time to properly vet the bill.

            3. So who exactly do you vote for? You illustrate the perfect fucking reason no one gives a shit about self-described libertarians. Too many libertarians think that in order to be “authentic”, they must eschew the two major parties, rather than try to influence their direction, thus they are completely fucking ignored. If you want to throw your vote away on candidates like Bob Barr or Wayne Root, guys who have about as much chance of winning the presidency as David fucking Duke, by my guest. Meanwhile, everyone is laughing at your impotence while you are busy debating the theoretical tenets of libertarianism that have no relevance, at all, to the modern American political reality. The day more than 2% of CATO’s policy proposals are enacted into law is a day that will never come.

              1. Quite the pragmatist, aren’t you? And what will all of your votes get you, in real terms? El Zippo. But you’ll feel really important, won’t you — like you’re a meaningful part of a meaningful process — just like it’s meant for you to feel.

                So by all means, carry on.

                1. “They have managed to brand themselves as the party of the elite. So people like you will forgive anything they do just so you can feel special.”

                  Much truth in that.

        2. Reps are almost deadbolt reliable on gun rights, which is how I justify most of my votes to myself.

        3. These evils are too great to designate one a lesser evil, but I do think the GOP path to total tyranny is slower than the Democratic one. As the parties are currently positioned, anyway.

          That’s it. Just a little slower.

          1. Which leads to the next question: is slower better? If the scale is centuries, then probably so, from our standpoint; if decades, probably not, I’d say.

            1. No way of telling from here, though we are the frog in the pot for sure. We still have time to reverse some of this without the whole business collapsing.

        4. Keep sucking that TEAM BLUE cock Warren.

          1. It’s amusing for you to call out people for partisanship, SIV.

            1. I get the “GOP shill” smear for saying Reps are marginally better than Dems.
              I’m calling Warren out for equating ALL ideological conservatives with the elected centrist GOP wing.Most of the Obama-voting commenters used to do that all the time before they left

    2. I agree Sudden. I think saying Team Red respects sound economic policies like those endorsed by Cato are a bit of a stretch. What I would say is that Team Red is occassionally inclined to respect free markets, and then occassionally relapse into economic statism. On the economic front, I think this is greatly preferable to Team Blue’s policy of all economic statism all the time. Maybe I have partisan biases shading my judgement?

      1. Maybe. What about forgetting about pie-in-the-sky economic philosophizing (otherwise known as promises not meant to be kept) and look at who actually manages the economy in a sane way, and who tends to blow it up.

        It’s not that Republicans don’t know what they’re doing. It’s just that what they do is dishonest, nihilistic, and horrifying. They think too many old and working class people have it too good, and their social safety net money could be in better hands.

        1. If there were a party who didn’t think my money could be in better hands, I’d support it.

          1. If you’re rich, support Republicans (but you have to be stupid too and not pay attention to the long term). If you want some of the rich’s money, support Democrats. Nobody earned $100 million. They just took it. The system transfers wealth to them deliberately. It should be taken back.

            1. What’s your address?

              I’m coming over to re-distribute some of your wealth.

    3. Cato’s economic prescriptions are respected by a small, relatively powerless faction of only one of the major political parties, and it’s not the Democrats.

      That would be accurate. The other phrasing is at best misleading.

  7. We belong to the night…

    1. We belong to the staggering evening…

  8. BTW
    Matt Welch, why does the link go to page 2?

    1. User error. Thanks for the catch.

  9. Lindsey is good at pointing out the failures of the Right but he has a complete blindspot for the failures of the Left. He says things like

    “Declaring independence from the right would require big changes. Cooperation with the right on free-market causes would need to be supplemented by an equivalent level of cooperation with the left on personal freedom, civil liberties, and foreign policy issues.”

    He really doesn’t seem to understand that the Left really doesn’t give a shit about civil liberties issues unless it relates to abortion. And the Democratic Party is virtually identical to the Republican Party on foreign policy issues. Yeah, the feed rubes like Lindsey a good line about the fierce moral imperative of leaving Iraq. But once in power, they have done little if anything different from what McCain would have done in these areas.

    After a year of Obama, Lindsey has to truly be delusional if he thinks that Libertarians can work with the Left on issues of personal freedom. What issues Brink?

    1. Obama lied,
      Thousands died.

    2. Well, to be fair John I think one could say the same thing about being delusional if you think the right respects free markets. During the Bush II years we got Medicare part D, more easy money, unrestrained Fannie and Freddie, and a really halfhearted press conference about maybe reforming that social security thing that is going to totally bankrupt my generation. In other words, depending on how absolute your demands for good policy, there are no viable alternatives in politics.

      1. that may be true. But that is a different subject. If it is true, that doesn’t make Lindsey any less pathetic for claiming that the Democrats care about personal freedoms.

        1. I agree with you John. Living in Seattle sometimes the cognitive dissonance gets to be too much for me. Progressives feel very strongly about personal freedoms, but as you noted do not define many things as personal freedom.

  10. It’s time for Libbies to find a new paradigm. What was that crack by Albert about doing the same thing over and over again? All that wailing and moaning and crying – do something, like get out of Dodge. If you believe the Republicrats are going to disappear any time soon, you are a candidate for – well, you figure it out. Where do Libbies belong: How the hell should I know?

  11. cooperation with the left on personal freedom, civil liberties,

    I will give the left credit for being marginally better on the WOD, just to be nice.

    Other than that, I’m really struggling to come up with a personal freedom/civil liberties issue they are better on. And I can think of several they are worse on, including such non-negotiable items as the RKBA.

    and foreign policy issues.


    1. You have to understand RC, to Lindsey liberals are cool. They live in the good neighborhoods, wear the right clothes and eat at the right restaurants. Lindsey is really pathetic. He is like the geeky kid that knows the cool kids will really accept him this time. There just has to be a way to work with Liberals. Lindsey can’t face a world where liberals don’t accept him.

      1. 3 to 1 odds says Lindsay drives a Prius and has that stupid “Yes We Did” sticker on it.

        1. If he ever came to the Reason happy hours I would show up just to shake his hand and say “so how is that whole libraltarian thing working out for you?”

    2. If you count nicotene as a drug, the left becomes at best a wash with the right, and potentially much worse on WoD issues.

      1. To the “right”, drug issues are a tool to attack minorities. To the “left”, they’re a tool to attack the majority.

        1. This is ridiculous. On both sides the vast majority support drug laws because (a) they see the very public and brutal side of drug addiction and (b) they don’t understand human nature or the limits of law.

          Libertarians would find much more acceptance if they’d stop inferring ill motives to everyone who disagrees with them.

          1. I think that’s true in gen’l, and on many other issues I say the same. But on this one I concluded the opposite years ago: that those who move the issue really are of ill will.

    3. Other than that, I’m really struggling to come up with a personal freedom/civil liberties issue they are better on.

      There are issues where individual activists are better, certainly. Politicians, OTOH, are pretty terrible.

    4. A small, relatively powerless faction of the Democrats is pretty good on gay rights, while the Republicans are almost all awful on that issue.

      That’s about all I’ve got for (damning with faint) praise for Ds.

    5. > non-negotiable items as the RKBA.

      They can have my guns when they pry them from my cold dead hands.

      Or the HOA amends their rules — either with or without a vote of the homeowners — to say that I can’t have guns.


    We finally know what it takes for a cop to lose his job.

  13. I’d prefer to be right around Dr. Paul’s right eyebrow, but would be willing to accomodate all the way down to his chin.

    In other words, I’m very, very lonely.

    1. Bottom line, Lindsey is a buffoon Just take immigration. He favors mass immigration and amnesty. Never mind that even Milton Friedman all but called mass immigration with a welfare state the VIAGRA of the state. It grows government.

      1. Sounds like a reason to put a wall around (or dismantle) the welfare state, not a reason to limit immigration.

        1. Standard BS reply. End the welfare state. How when we keep importing millions of poor people that keep voting for access to my checkbook.

          Milton Friedman was right?democracies end in bankruptcy.

          1. Once again, wrong target William. The problem is the welfare state, not the free movement of people.

          2. Once again, an anarchist is in favor of importing billions of tax-sucking (because they are on average in the lower income tiers where people get more than they pay in), socialist leaning, “progressive” Democrat voting, low IQ immigrants.

            As a matter of fact, if you listen to people around here you’d think we’d be best off if the US government started a shuttle express service from all third world countries. All comers are welcome and we’ll even give you a free ride.

            Of course, no one believes this shit is good for us. But anarchists want to end government and they hope this will bring it about faster.

            Anarchists are entitled to their opinions. But let’s not pretend that all libertarians are anarchists.

      2. So we have to restrict liberty to preserve it?

        Preventing people stuck under a tyrannical government from fleeing to here is aiding and abetting tyrants.

        Make this country free enough, and those countries will build the fences you desire to keep their prisoners from escaping.

        1. Nope. They will just send their malcontents here so they can stay in power.

        2. Whose liberty?? I want to preserve mine. Importing millions of people that vote for more and more government isn’t preserving liberty.

          1. Last I checked “illegal” immigrants don’t vote. If you mean their anchor babies then look back 18 years when they immigrated…don’t recall the “build a wall” rhetoric being so loud back then? I am sick of people who think stopping immigration is an answer to anything. I have become so pissed over this issue (And I came to libertarianism over drugs many many moons ago) that I took for granted. So many typically smart people get all “But the brown people are coming” FUCK!!! IF YOU LIKE ECONOMIC FREEDOM THEN YOU LIKE IMMIGRANTS PERIOD>>>LEGAL OR NOT! Now, the welfare thing is bad but is actually easier to get rid of than keeping out immigrants. Stupid Republicans don’t understand basic economics…immigration is about economics and that is all there is.

            I give, I can’t engage in the illegal debate anymore. It causes me too much pain to watch morons twist their own morals and stated values to fit some simplistic idea about what immigration is in their own minds.

            By the fucking way, I married an immigrant who went the “legal” channel…guess what IT IS DAMN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE!!!! And demoralizig to an extent that makes the TSA look like Emily Post.


            I could use some mexican beer along with my mexican radio right about now

            1. It’s obvious you don’t understand basic economics.

            2. Last I checked “illegal” immigrants don’t vote.

              O really?

  14. Thanks for the link, Matt. Now everyone can see me call myself an idiot! 🙂

  15. In a bid to stem taxpayer losses for bad loans guaranteed by federal housing agencies Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn) proposed that borrowers be required to make a 5% down payment in order to qualify. His proposal was rejected 57-42 on a party-line vote because, as Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn) explained, “passage of such a requirement would restrict home ownership to only those who can afford it.”

    But remember it is the GOP who is the stupid party.

    1. It was a joke, though thoroughly believable.

      1. In reply the link you gave (I would quote it but it won’t let me copy)

        If a person has a solid income and good credit, how long would it take them to save up the money for a 5% down payment on a home loan?

        So in reality, doesn’t this really restrict home ownership to only those who can afford it? Essentially this is what Dodd was saying.

      2. In reply the link you gave (I would quote it but it won’t let me copy)

        If a person has a solid income and good credit, how long would it take them to save up the money for a 5% down payment on a home loan?

        So in reality, doesn’t this really restrict home ownership to only those who can afford it? Essentially this is what Dodd was saying.


          Maybe Sen Doddd will buy me one because I sure can’t afford it.

          1. Porches are nice. It’s a shame you don’t see them as often as you used to. People would walk by, you’d wave, then you’d rock for a while, sipping your lemonade and commenting on the weather.

            1. I have one. And two rocking chairs on it. My house is like the model home for 60’s suburbian conservatopia.

              1. or suburban, whatever.

                1. Nice. My wife and I like those kinds of houses. Yep, I can see us rocking in our chairs when I retire in my late 80s.

        2. I agree. Satire is indistinguishable from reality nowadays.

    2. “”” “passage of such a requirement would restrict home ownership to only those who can afford it.”””

      But how many people in this country think credit is what you use to buy things you can’t really afford anyway?

  16. From today’s WSJ Best of the Web:

    Questions Nobody Is Asking

    ? “What Is ‘Shifra’s Arms’–and Why Are Jewish Abortion Activists in an Uproar?”–headline,, July 11

    ? “Is it Wrong to Share Your 7-Eleven FarmVille Groceries With a Gowalla?”–headline,, July 12

    ? “Is Jousting the Next Extreme Sport?”–headline, New York Times magazine, July 11

    ? “Matthews to Democrat: What Percentage of Republicans Would You Put in the ‘Nut Bag?’ “–headline,, July 12

    ? “Where Do Libertarians Belong?”–headline Reason, August/September issue

    ? “Are Too-Low Taxes Exacerbating the Recession?”–headline, Seattle Times, July 12

    ? “Squirrel Haunch, Anyone?”–headline, Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne, Ind.), July 12…..TopOpinion

  17. Out behind the woodshed?

  18. Oh, and to answer the question: In power.

    1. This might be part of the problem. Since we’re against government power, its not surprising we have none.

      1. I just want the power to stab Leviathan in the heart repeatedly.

        I’m a simple kind of man.

        1. Can’t fault you for that.

  19. Ideally, Lindsey is correct in that libertarians should not have to pal around with either conservatives or socialists in order to be heard.

    However, the problem with a “libertarian center” is that the American public has become more and more illiberal (in the classic sense of the word) since the 1930s.

    The basic libertarian impulse is to say “leave me alone,” be it on economic or social issues. However, that only works if the other side of the conversation is willing to say “Ok, that’s none of my business anyway.” America used to be full of people who *minded their own fucking business*. No longer. As long as that’s true, then libertarianism is never going to occupy the center of the debate. Liberty shouldn’t be the “radical alternative,” but there it is.

  20. America used to be full of people who *minded their own fucking business*.

    *Shouldn’t your asterisk footnote to an apology for slavery?

  21. *Shouldn’t your asterisk footnote to an apology for slavery?

    An apology? How about a Civil War? The whole slavery argument is a canard. Half the country didn’t participate in it, and the majority of Americans immigrated here after slavery was abolished. There were only about 30 million people in the US at the time.

  22. I’m a little late to the party, but as requested my impressions of the debate: Aiming for the middle does not quite cut it. Nor does aiming to shoot the right as Lindsey does, nor aiming to shoot the left as Goldberg does, nor aiming at both as Kibbe does.

    From a practical perspective, asking rhetorically “where libertarians belong” is less important than understanding how they can be politically relevant.

    One key to political relevance is simple – a predictable centrist libertarian swing vote. The rub – for a swing vote to be predictable it has to be organized. And nobody yet has figured out how to herd these cats. This is sometimes referred to as the “Hot Tub Libertarian” Problem. There is an answer. There is a way to herd these cats. Paraphrasing from my post “Curing Libertarian Electile Dysfunction”:

    Libertarian swing vote organization is going to have to look different than traditional political organization. After all, it is something we will have to accomplish while sitting in the hot-tub. What is needed, is an organizing principle. Ideally, a principle that is so obvious, so logical, and so clear-cut, that no leadership is needed, no parties are needed, no candidates are needed, and no infrastructure is needed. Ideally it is this easy: You think about the principle, and you know how to vote.

    That organizing principle exists. It is Divided Government. It is absolutely clear-cut and easy to understand. Divided Government is documented by Niskanen to work in a practical real-world manner to restrain the growth of the state. As a voting strategy it can be implemented immediately. More importantly, it can collectively be implemented individually as we sit in our hot tubs and ponder the sorry state of the world. Whatever the percentage of the electorate that libertarians represent, whether it is 9% or 20%, if they vote as a block for divided government, they immediately become the brokers of an evenly split partisan electorate. They arguably become the single most most potent voting block in the country, specifically because they are willing to vote either Democratic or Republican as a block. Specifically because they are not fused to one party or the other.

    If the libertarian “divided government vote” is shown to swing elections for two or three cycles, then libertarians will no longer be inchoate, their message no longer be diffused, and their political clout no longer flaccid. As long as the bulk of the electorate remain polarized and balanced, even a small percentage libertarian swing vote organized around divided government will be enough for libertarians to display the biggest swinging political “hammer” in town.

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