Declaration of Independents

Matt Welch, Nick Gillespie in the Wall Street Journal, Talking Independents

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The Wall Street Journal interviewed Reason's Nick Gillespie about the rise of independent voters and the implications for Election 2012. Drawing from the book, coauthored with Matt Welch, The Declaration of Independents, Gillespie argues that brand loyalty to Democrats and Republicans is just as dead as brand loyalty among car buyers. And explains why that's a good thing.

The Journal also excerpts Welch and Gillespie's book today. Here's a taste:

Netscape or Internet Explorer, Crest or Colgate, stuffing or potatoes: When given real choice, especially the choice to go elsewhere, consumers will drop even the most beloved of brands for options that enhance their experience and increase their autonomy. We have all witnessed and participated in this revolutionary transfer of loyalty away from those who tell us what we should buy or think and toward those who give us tools to think and act for ourselves. No corner of the economy, of cultural life, or even of our personal lives hasn't felt the gale-force winds of this change.

Except government.

Read the whole thing here (no subscription required).

The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America has an official release date of June 28, but is available from online sellers and select bookstores now. To order a copy (including Kindle format), see reviews, check event dates, and more, go to Declaration2011.com.

NEXT: Green Shoots Bustin' Out All Over: How Much More Awesome News Can One Economy Take?

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  1. Uh, how did the Bush-Obama love child in the middle wind up with uneven eyes when both Bush and Obama have even eyes?

    1. Artistic license?

    2. Alfred E. Neuman is the third father.

      1. [DONOTWANT]Noooooooooooo![/DONOTWANT]

        “That’s not true, that’s impossible!

    3. Sick of one, half does the other.

    4. Two fugs make a bueat. It’s the law of nature.

  2. At a time when governments at every level have run out of money, the smart politicians will figure out how to unbundle policy options and speed up the sort of innovation that has made most areas of our lives better than they were 40 years ago.

    Having “smart politicians” or dumb ones, it doesn’t matter. They will not change until the voters do, and at the end of it all the Tea Party Movement did not fill me with hope. Until the plurality agrees not to choose to vote for the a-hole who offers the most free stuff, we will be spending generations paying off all our free stuff.

    1. + one million unicorns

      (Seriously, that is the heart of the matter)

  3. Nice work.

  4. Can’t we say Libertarian instead of Independent? I always associate Independent with the chunkheads who never seemed to ascribe to a political philosophy and swing back and forth between various ideologies as a means to try and express open-mindedness.

    1. “Declaration of Libertarians” wouldn’t have quite the same ring to it..

    2. Problem with that is many if not most libertarians are busy being butt-boys for the GOP, and are not in fact independent even in the most trivial sense.

      Of course, your description of actual independents is spot-on.

      1. A Perspiring Cola|6.18.11 @ 11:55AM|#
        “Problem with that is many if not most libertarians are busy being butt-boys for the GOP, and are not in fact independent even in the most trivial sense.”

        Projection or strawman? You decide.

        1. I’d go with deranged progressive.

        2. Small-l libertarians and the GOP: abusive relationship or slow sad tale of unrequited love?

          1. Hey! The GOP only restricts civil liberties because they love them! You don’t know them like we do!

          2. HAHAHAHAHAHA.. oh wait, you’re serious..

            1. …ly fucking stupid.

          3. A motherfucker always needing to change his handle?

        3. Why can’t it be both?

          1. Epi, you of all people should know that love comes in many flavors and colors, including black and blue.

            For me, crying clowns is like Viagra.

            1. Somewhere, Bobcat Goldthwait’s sphincter just puckered.

      2. If your definition of “independent” requires that one never support the lesser of two evils, then independence equals irrelevance. In the electoral game, the Rs and Ds can safely ignore the many folks here who either don’t vote at all or refuse to vote for a major candidate unless he or she promises to end the drug war and privatize the interstates.

        And it’s fairly clear that the GOP is the lesser of two evils and has been for some time; the gains in liberty that collaboration with the GOP have yielded, while meager, are massive compared to those gained by cosmo/liberaltarian collaboration with Democrats.

        1. While I really do appreciate you trying to put a positive, face-saving spin on what is essentially confirming my observation, it still comes down to the fact that the GOP gives libs lip-service (in the dirtiest possible way) when out of power, and crumbs when they’re in. And yet, libs tend, by-and-large (I know this is slightly less true of the H&R crowd, but still) to treat these crumbs as if they were manna from IHOP.

          1. So what’s your suggested course of action, smart guy? You’re long on criticism but short on solutions.

            Crumbs are the best you can hope for when 90% of the population, and essentially 100% of the influential population, despise your positions on a large number of issues.

          2. Oh, and if you’re going to get personal about things you really should have the testes to stick to a consistent handle.

          3. My suggested course of action would be to find candidates with a proven track record of more than just lip service to one’s ideas, and pull a bit for them. Gary Johnson, perhaps, or Bill Richardson. (Makes you wonder just what they’re putting in the water in New Mexico, but never mind that.)

            But libs always whine their loudest about purity and ideology when it comes to compromise candidates like this. “I couldn’t possibly support Johnson, he’s not for abolishing the DoE yesterday!!eleventy-one!11!” It’s strange how that whining stops when the GOP has selected their candidate for the election cycle. Sure a few anarcho-capitalists might double down and vote Lib (or double-whine and not vote at all), but most will just tuck tails and fellate the police stater who inevitably is chosen.

            FWIW, the lib-liberal “alliance” has already paid dividends with movement towards liberalization of drug policy (medical marijuana, decrim, legalization in a few states in tasting distance), and legalization of gay military service and marriage.

            Tell me again what the last crumb you received from the GOP was? Was it a broken promise to reduce spending or a broken promise to lower taxes? I can’t remember the order.

            I dunno, make me eat crow. Fight like hell to get Johnson (or, God help us all, Paul) on the ticket and maybe I’ll take the GOP-lib relationship as something other than prison sex. (Hint: libs are not the top in that relationship).
            ——————

            You know, I posted here for some span of years under a consistent handle, and I wanted to try something new. It’s interesting how similar rhetoric and comments coming from someone one “knows” are read and treated differently from “some guy”. If it makes you feel any better, not only is my writing style pretty consistent, but also my comment name follows a pretty easy-to-discern pattern.

            1. As long as you stick to making arguments rather than personal put-downs I don’t care if you post under 5823 different handles.

              Every libertarian in America could get out on the street and campaign door to door for Gary Johnson until their toes bleed and he’d still have no chance to get the nomination. That’s not a plausible solution.

              FWIW, the lib-liberal “alliance” has already paid dividends with movement towards liberalization of drug policy (medical marijuana, decrim, legalization in a few states in tasting distance)

              That’s coincidence…and note that the vast majority of liberals in office and in the press hate those things with a passion and hamstring those efforts whenever possible.

              I mean, if that counts as a liberaltarian policy victory, then killing the public option in Obamacare is a right-libertarian policy victory. Heck, the tiny little budget cuts the GOP has delivered are just as influential as medical MJ liberalization at the state level which is a moot point with a liberal DOJ still raiding dispensaries.

              Finally, gay marriage and DADT aren’t libertarian issues as they don’t involve coercion. Your cosmo is showing.

              1. As long as you stick to making arguments rather than personal put-downs I don’t care if you post under 5823 different handles.

                On a board where more often than not an adverse argument (as few and far between as they tend to be) is met first with a personal “put-down” (which is, BTW, a helluva euphemism for the sort of warm welcome normally on display), I’ll take your concern for my argumentation style and subjects with a big ol’ grain of “I don’t give a fuck”.

                I see that you, Epi, Sugarless, MNG, and a few of the other old regulars are still around, and I have plenty of respect for them, and you, as commentators. A few of the newer guys and gals seem to be smart and capable of sharp, fun, thoughtful conversation as well. A few of the other names I don’t recognize from the old days so far have come across as complete fucking idiots; the big clue there being I point out in a roundabout way that they are making bad arguments and I get a face full of mouth-froth in return. I’m going to respond to them by heckling.
                ———

                Every libertarian in America could get out on the street and campaign door to door for Gary Johnson until their toes bleed and he’d still have no chance to get the nomination. That’s not a plausible solution.

                I sincerely doubt that, but then again it’s never been tried so I guess competing subjunctive counterfactuals will have to suffice. One might say “Well, Ron Paul…” but that guy has so much baggage (and has so many deal-breaker positions from a general electorate POV) that he could never be president even if he got the nom. Not so with Johnson. What do you think the proportion of the primary voting base it is that works hard to install the craziest religious rightist they can find for their GOP nominee? It’s smaller by a damn sight than the number of libertarians if everyone got active.

                That’s coincidence…and note that the vast majority of liberals in office and in the press hate those things with a passion and hamstring those efforts whenever possible.

                The vast majority? Come now. Dissent on the drug war for the last decade or so has been acceptable on the Left and pretty much a joke on the Right. Clapping at primary debates aside (which loves to get trotted out in this argument and is, if you think about it for a moment, perhaps the silliest sort of evidence one might offer), it is clear from a look at the numbers why this is so and just how ridiculous it is to insist otherwise. Paul and Johnson are true blue anomalies, whereas on everything below the national level Dems beat the GOP handily on the issue. When Buckley came out against MJ laws he was viewed as the funny uncle in the attic; only because of his other contributions to conservatism was he tolerated for this particular eccentricity.

                I mean, if that counts as a liberaltarian policy victory, then killing the public option in Obamacare is a right-libertarian policy victory.

                Not really, considering what we ended up with is the worst of all worlds. The MJ stuff could unironically be characterized as progress, whereas the end result of Obamacare is best characterized as a clusterfuck of rent seeking and coercion (not to mention probable unconstitutionality).

                Finally, gay marriage and DADT aren’t libertarian issues as they don’t involve coercion. Your cosmo is showing.

                Well, first off, if you think that DADT didn’t involve coercion then you are woefully uninformed regarding its history and implementation.

                Second, ending de jure discrimination used to be something that paleos and cosmos could get together on. Are you saying that’s no longer true? I mean, there are lots of crossed wires due to the general desire for government to be out of the marriage business entirely, but excluding the perfect defecating all over the good isn’t it an important thing to have what government does end up doing (despite all our hopes and dreams) not be done in service of invidious discrimination?

                1. on everything below the national level Dems beat the GOP handily on the issue.

                  Right, that’s why California’s Prop 8 received zero statewide officeholder endorsements and zero newspaper endorsements in one of the bluest states in the nation. And of course the threats and interference from the liberal president and his minions.

                  Dems beat GOP on drugs like the GOP beats the Dems on entitlements…lots of talk until the time comes to actually do something.

                  if you think that DADT didn’t involve coercion then you are woefully uninformed regarding its history and implementation.

                  Wait, did I miss the reinstatement of the draft? You don’t want to be subject to DADT, don’t join the military. You can’t coerce the willing.

                  And of course it’s never been demonstrated that gender-balanced marriage is discriminatory.

                2. The MJ stuff could unironically be characterized as progress, whereas the end result of Obamacare is best characterized as a clusterfuck of rent seeking and coercion

                  Um, what? The state of medical MJ jurisprudence at this point is a cluster too. At least the weakened Obamacare doesn’t create legal conundra for health care users the way medMJ creates them for marijuana users.

              2. It’s Neu

                Bill Richardson, the great TEAM BLUE “liberaltarian” Hope.

                1. Good guess, but wrong.

                  1. OK, assuming you are another douchebag Team Blue asshole, or just playing one because your other sockpuppet failed:
                    Care to explain why there is anything “libertarian” about Bill Richardson?

              3. “FWIW, the lib-liberal “alliance” has already paid dividends with movement towards liberalization of drug policy (medical marijuana,”

                common in red AND blue states. hardly a liberal only thang.

                “decrim, legalization in a few states in tasting distance), and legalization of gay military service”

                um, legalization of gay military service was due to a lawsuit by log cabin REPUBLICANS, so nice fucking try on that one

                i can state having lived in both red and blue states, the latter are way worse in nannyism and personal liberty restrictions.

                the left is also behind the awful speech restrictions (mostly on college campuses) as well as usually being opposed to right to carry, those being about the two most important liberty interests there are

                1. Quite a lot to respond to. Well, lessee here.
                  —————
                  Easiest one to start with is SIV:

                  Care to explain why there is anything “libertarian” about Bill Richardson?

                  One of his first acts in office was enthusiastic support and then signing of a broad income tax cut. He supported and then passed a concealed carry law for NM (its first such law), and himself carries on occasion. He signed NM’s medical marijuana law despite predictions it would harm his presidential aspirations. He actively supported the burgeoning private spaceflight industry by removing regulatory hurdles, and consistently received accolades from the Cato Institute for balanced budgets and good fiscal management.

                  Oh, but lookee here, he banned cockfighting in NM, making it the 50th state to do so. Now I know why SIV doesn’t like him. Figures. These are the drawbacks of being a single issue voter, I guess.

                  And while I’m not Neu Mejican (and where is he, BTW?), I’m kinda surprised by the guess actually, since his style is more info-dumpy than mine.
                  ———-
                  Tulpa, next:

                  Um, what? The state of medical MJ jurisprudence at this point is a cluster too. At least the weakened Obamacare doesn’t create legal conundra for health care users the way medMJ creates them for marijuana users.

                  The conundra, as you put it, mainly focus upon federal efforts to pwn dispensaries. Fortunately, most states with MMJ laws provide for private growing and caregiving, making any federal response basically impossible. I live in one of those states and know a few of those caregivers (and two patients, for that matter). They aren’t worried.

                  Right, that’s why California’s Prop 8 received zero statewide officeholder endorsements and zero newspaper endorsements in one of the bluest states in the nation.

                  What does Prop 8 have to do with MJ policy? Did you mean Prop 19? As far as California officeholders go, the supporters all came from one major party. It doesn’t start with an “R”.

                  Wait, did I miss the reinstatement of the draft? You don’t want to be subject to DADT, don’t join the military. You can’t coerce the willing.

                  This is what I love about libertarianism; no room for exogenous non-state coercion in the theories, so it must not exist. The idea that military life might be the only viable economic option in communities with collapsed industry and high unemployment, no education opportunities and no exit is apparently below the radar screen? Reality laughs cruelly at the notion there is no coercion inherent in circumstance. Given that, an avenue shouldn’t be available to one but blocked to others for non-merit factors.

                  And of course it’s never been demonstrated that gender-balanced marriage is discriminatory.

                  Um, I’m just gonna walk right by this one and pretend it wasn’t said.

                  ———-
                  Hey, dunphy!:

                  common in red AND blue states. hardly a liberal only thang.

                  Untrue. There are 14 states plus DC that are MMJ states. 11 of these and DC went for the democrat in the last presidential election. 12 out of 15 is pretty damn blue. Those stats don’t change much, BTW if you look at past elections (I think the lowest it goes is 9 for the last 20 years, eyeballing it, since NM and NV went red in 2004, and NV in 2000).

                  um, legalization of gay military service was due to a lawsuit by log cabin REPUBLICANS, so nice fucking try on that one

                  Er, the effort to get DADT repealed was an overwhelmingly DEM initiative. Surprisingly (to pretty much everyone) a lawsuit by the LCR broke through first. Oh yeah, how was that received in the GOP, BTW? Giving the GOP credit for what the LCR did is pretty thin gruel, I think.

                  I agree with you about the speech codes and firearms stuff completely (about the Dems being very bad on them, at least). Although, the GOP isn’t fantastic on speech and expression issues either.

                  In my experience (in, admittedly, only one red state and one blue state), nanny statism and overregulation follow population density more than anything else. In general, cities suck, and rural communities are freer overall; these things generally hold true no matter which party controls the town/city council. The regulations and the type of nanny certainly change flavor and emphasis depending on who’s doing it.

                  1. It’s just like 2008 all over again.

                    LA was the 50th state to ban cockfighting.It is still legal in some US territories.

                    Richardson broke his promise to stay “agnostic” on cockfighting as governor and lead the ban movement.

                    I do admire the gropin’ fatboy for saying homosexuality is a choice at the 2008 “gay presidential debate”, although he said it out of stupidity rather than conviction and couldn’t walked it back fast enough.

                  2. assuming your stats are correct (and I have no reason not to believe them) – i was wrong about the medical MJ thang. seems to be overwhelmingly a blue state thang. props to them

                    i disagree with your analysis of the DADT thing. it was the republicans that got it overturned. you can call that luck or whatever, but it wasn’t the dems, it was a group fo repubs that actually MADE THE DIFFERENCE. that matters. talk is less important than action

                    i’m just telling you when it comes to local (state) nanny crap, it’s been overwhelmingly dem imo

                    my state made online poker a C fucking felony. new york banned transfats. San Fran banned fucking happy meals for pete’s sake. then, we can talk about smoking bans (i am for them in public buildings btw, but if a bar wants to be smoke, or smoke free, that’s their fucking choice), and other shit like that.

                    i don’t think team red states are libertarian paradises by any stretch of the imagination (props to coolio) but ime they are far better

                    ime, the practical aspects of republican rule are more liberty respecting than dem rule.

                    as for the WOD, i’ve been a cop under both dems and repubs and i see no practical difference between the two.

                    imo, the most important rights are those enshrined in the first two amendments – and repubs are ime WAY better on those

                    you could argue either way about the 4th, but imo despite their “civil liberties” rhetoric, again dem POLICY is far more injurious. dems and repubs may be roughly equally bad on the WOD, but the war on domestic violence is undoubtedly more a democrat thang, and it WAY more intrusive on the average (especially the average INNOCENT joe’s ) rights than the WOD. the lack of due process, the abridgment of the right to free association, the right to stay in one’s own home, etc. – all compromised more by the WODV than the WOD . not even close

                    and if you want to talk about blatant govt. theft of property, just like at shit like our local (seattle/king county) critical areas ordinance for how dems use environmental concerns to steal private property

                    1. SIV — You are indeed correct that NM beat LA by three months. So, 49th instead of 50th.

                      ———

                      Dunphy:

                      I agree with the general principle that actions speak louder than words, and certainly the LCR themselves deserve plenty of credit in that regard. However, they went renegade from the GOP to do it, who were on the whole fiercely opposed to DADT repeal. So my argument is simply that the GOP deserves to receive no credit, no points at all, for what a small section of essentially excommunicated rebels did contrary to the party’s policy.

                      Further, while the LCR case catalyzed legislative action, the GOP in general were quite vociferous on how the LCR case was “judicial activism” and thus not legitimate. And perhaps most importantly, it was likely to have been overturned on appeal had it not been mooted by legislation, namely the DADTRA of 2010. The voting roll-call is quite clear on who supports what, and is pretty damning for any claim that the GOP has anything to do with finally abolishing the policy.

                      The War on Domestic Violence thing is an interesting point. I agree it has been very intrusive, and together with the WOD has been corrosive to fouth amendment protections generally. I do think, though, that unlike the WOD the WODV has at the base a legitimate object and is attempting to address an actual legitimate function of the state (interceding in cases of one’s violent acts against another), and so weighing that legitimate policy goal against the terrible violence being done to the 4th amendment is more complicated, at the least.

                      and if you want to talk about blatant govt. theft of property, just like at shit like our local (seattle/king county) critical areas ordinance for how dems use environmental concerns to steal private property

                      Eminent domain and ordinance abuse for whatever policy reason (benefiting private business, environment, or whatever) has gotten out of control, and there have been precious few angels on that issue anywhere on either side. I think the tie barely goes to the right for that one, and in general on property rights they tend to be moderately better than the left.

                    2. So my argument is simply that the GOP deserves to receive no credit, no points at all, for what a small section of essentially excommunicated rebels did contrary to the party’s policy.

                      By that token the Dems deserve no credit for medical MJ or decriminalization.

                    3. i’d also make the (somewhat conspiratorial argument) that a substantial percentage of repubs play to the religious right because they have to , to get votes. iow, i think a lot more than you realize supported the LCR’s and the LCR’s are a useful way for the repubs to have their cake and eat it too

                      iow, mainstream repub pandering to his bible belt base “hey man, that was the LCR’s. i am totally behind the gayz is the evul thing here, man… i;m with you” while simultaneously being able to make the dems look like the ineffectual fools they are , one upping them on DADT and making Obama look like the reactionary bigot he is

                      i actually think it;s genius political theatre. repubs get to do away with DADT (a plus from a policy basis as well as possibly getting more LGBT votes), retain their religious right base, AND get to make the dems look like fools, and even bigots

                      it’s genius ! genius i tell ya~!

                    4. The “that’s just silly” comment was directed to Tulpa’s “By that token the Dems deserve no credit for medical MJ or decriminalization”, not dunphy’s comment.

                      Dunphy, you may well be right about the character of the politicking behind the GOP stance on DADT, but if the test is “action matters”, as you insist, then some renegade gay GOPers combined with the vast majority of democrats in the house and senate was what got it done. The gay GOpers were acting outside the aegis of their party, while the dems were acting fully inside theirs.

                    5. the gay GOPers used the courts to mandate the dissolution of DADT. they had 100% of the win.

                      court mandated.

                    6. That’s just silly; state Dem parties and politicians have been great for medical MJ and decrim. More to the point, they aren’t excommunicated or punished by the national when they do.

                      I mean, you tell me, is there a difference between one renegade advocacy group on the one hand, and several institutionally ensconced state party chapters on the other?

                  3. “This is what I love about libertarianism; no room for exogenous non-state coercion in the theories, so it must not exist.”

                    No, it doesn’t exist since it doesn’t exist. Irrelevant adjectives don’t change facts.

                    1. But “whatever you call yourself this minute”, you missed calling Tulpa on this:
                      “And of course it’s never been demonstrated that gender-balanced marriage is discriminatory.”
                      And you should have.

                    2. Everybody is so sure that my statement on gender balanced marriage is wrong, yet utterly at a loss for words to show why.

                      What does that tell you?

                    3. Tulpa|6.18.11 @ 10:09PM|#
                      “Everybody is so sure that my statement on gender balanced marriage is wrong, yet utterly at a loss for words to show why.”
                      Uh, no. It’s been pointed out many times. Try here:
                      http://americanhistory.about.c…..ummary.htm
                      Briefly, it’s called ‘equal protection’, and you’ve yet to offer any reason why those who don’t share your preference for a marriage partner should somehow be denied that.

                      “What does that tell you?”
                      It tells me you continue to ignore the obvious. That’s what it tells me.

                    4. Yawn. We’ve been through the EPC argument over and over again. There are several responses to that argument:

                      1. Everyone is free to marry someone of the opposite sex. Loving’s logic doesn’t apply since anti-miscegenation statutes required arbitrary definitions of race while gender definitions are virtually always clear-cut outside of extremely rare trisomies and the like.

                      2. The state’s interest in marriage arises because of the possibility of minors being produced in the midst of this arrangement, and in our society the state has an oversight responsibility in protecting the welfare of said minors as they can’t be expected to stick up for their own interests. A relationship which is inherently unable to produce children provides no compelling interest for the state to get involved.

                      3. The state shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all, and the solution to an EPC violation (assuming one exists) should be that which decreases coercion. For example, if Mississippi passes a law saying it’s OK to kill black people, the solution to the EPC issue isn’t to legalize all murder.

                    5. “1. Everyone is free to marry someone of the opposite sex.”

                      Fail right there.
                      Shorter Tulpa: “Everyone is free to do what I think is right”.

                      “2. The state’s interest in marriage arises because of the possibility of minors being produced in the midst of this arrangement,….”
                      And the state’s interest in all sorts of things, bla, bla, bla..
                      Fail X2

                      “3. The state shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all,..”
                      Agreed. And when the state favors none, they’ll all be equal. Until then, the state must favor all equally.
                      Fail X3.

                    6. IMO, the only correct response from a libertarian perspective would be to abolish “marriage” from the government lexicon. It is and has been a mostly religious concept and has also been regarded as between a man and a women (or women), and therefore fails the smell test when we attempt to apply it in a contractual basis.

                      The correct move, and it would be a relatively easy sell to both the far left and far right, would be to approve any and all civil unions for purely legal matters and to allow companies that have contracts with couples to set their own guidelines on who to permit (such as insurance companies determining who they allow as spouses and dependants on their policies. The free association also goes for people who choose not to conduct businesses with companies that have bigoted policies.

                      Sorry to just jump in on this one, and to jump to everyone but “man of many names” side, but as far as MJ policy, expanding individual liberty and protecting actual rights (as opposed to percieved ones not in the Constitution and BOR, the party that had a stranglehold on Washington for 2 years and a wave of success in 2006-2008 did nothing but fuck over every man, woman and child in this country through regulation, duplicity and nannyism. If you think they took a beating last year for any other reason then you’re blind.

                    7. “The correct move, and it would be a relatively easy sell to both the far left and far right, would be to approve any and all civil unions for purely legal matters and to allow companies that have contracts with couples to set their own guidelines on who to permit”

                      Absolutely agreed. Until that happens, the imperfect state has no right to deny to one which it provides to another.

                    8. Absolutely agreed. Until that happens, the imperfect state has no right to deny to one which it provides to another.

                      Well of course. The problem is where to draw the line. What about polygamy and polyandry? They should be able to enjoy the same rights as hetero and gay couples, right?

                      That’s the problem I have with most gay marriage supporters (and opposers for fundie reasons). It’s not about liberty as much as it is about them getting what they want. IOW, they are by and large rent-seeking assholes who couldn’t give a whit about liberty once they get what they want.

                      Case in point: San Francisco. They are the strongest voice for gay rights, including marriage, in America, yet they ban guns, certain foods, private property rights through rent control, free association for businesses and myriad other individual choices.

                  4. Fortunately, most states with MMJ laws provide for private growing and caregiving, making any federal response basically impossible.

                    Bwahaha. Raich of Gonzales v Raich fame wasn’t working at a dispensary, you know… and of course it’s a pretty huge burden to require each patient in need of med MJ to have a dedicated caregiver (and yes, there are usually very low limits on the number of patients per “caregiver”). I suppose it’s better than nothing, but remember your entire case for the Dems being superior rests on this thin reed along with the dubious gay stuff.

                    Did you mean Prop 19? As far as California officeholders go, the supporters all came from one major party.

                    Yes, I meant 19. And while your link doesn’t work, the real point of the matter is that there were plenty of Dems in statewide office or races for such that could have supported it but didn’t (indeed in many cases they adamantly opposed it) as well as the leading lights, such as they are, of the liberal media in California. Yes, I know that the GOP is awful on the issue, which is all your attempt at a point shows… you haven’t shown that the Dems are practically any better.

                    1. Tulpa, hopefully this link will work. Fourteen local dem reps (current and former) supported it. One republican candidate and one former republican rep did. Fourteen to two is a rather large gap. I agree with you on the statewide offices.

                      On the topic of Gonzales v. Raich, have there been any federal busts of individual caregivers or patients since the dems took over the DoJ?
                      ———–

                      No, it doesn’t exist since it doesn’t exist. Irrelevant adjectives don’t change facts.

                      So your contention, sevo, is that coercion can’t possibly exist unless it originates in state action?

                      you missed calling Tulpa on this:
                      “And of course it’s never been demonstrated that gender-balanced marriage is discriminatory.”
                      And you should have.

                      I couldn’t do it politely, so I decided not to do it at all (as I indicated in an above post).

                    2. That’s 5 Dems in the House (out of a delegation of 34 Dems) and 9 in the state legislature (out of 75 Dems). Pretty horrid little hook to hang your hat on.

                    3. “No, it doesn’t exist since it doesn’t exist. Irrelevant adjectives don’t change facts.”

                      So your contention, sevo, is that coercion can’t possibly exist unless it originates in state action?
                      Oh, it can. Such as slavery, when the state specifically granted the power of coercion to slave owners.
                      Which of course means nothing to you claim of ‘coercion’.
                      Sophistry is tiresome.

                  5. This is what I love about libertarianism; no room for exogenous non-state coercion in the theories, so it must not exist.

                    Not true; libertarians surely believe that non-state actors are capable of coercing other non-state actors, which is why we are not against all force, but only against the initiation of force. However….

                    Reality laughs cruelly at the notion there is no coercion inherent in circumstance

                    …here the mask comes off. You’re just sneaking in the trojan whores of positive rights. Life sucking doesn’t constitute coercion in any meaningful sense of the word.

                    1. The mask? Don’t be ridiculous. Life sucking (or, really, many of life’s vagaries) requires a person living said life to respond to those circumstances.

                      It is a forced action, since people need, at the least, food and shelter (and our society, like it or not, tends to think that a few other things are close to the “need” line, like heat in the winter or access to antibiotics).

                      If I can’t get a job because unemployment is 20% in my community and I don’t have a vehicle or ability to move…because I have no money because I have no job, I could either steal (which I assume you wouldn’t be in favor of) or I could take a third option: join the military. That’s a forced option by any reasonable definition. If the government is going to offer military service as a paying option, it cannot decide to withhold that option from someone because they are gay.

                    2. Who is doing the coercing in the purported coercive scenario you describe?

                      And seriously, if you view joining the military as a coerced act, there are far greater freedoms that are lost by enlisting than the freedom to express one’s sexuality. You essentially hand over your right to life to the whim of your superiors, for starters. If you’re against DADT on the basis of rights violations, you’ve got a lot more injustice to fight against in the rules of the military, no?

                    3. wouldn’t the purist libertarian argument be that a private employer could though?

                    4. “If I can’t get a job because unemployment is 20% in my community and I don’t have a vehicle or ability to move…because I have no money because I have no job, I could either steal (which I assume you wouldn’t be in favor of) or I could take a third option: join the military.”

                      Hey, that’s great! I’ll bet you got a million of ’em!
                      Stupid hypotheticals are, well, stupid hypotheticals.
                      No Mickey Ds in this burg?

                    5. “It is a forced action, since people need, at the least, food and shelter…”

                      The stupid here is obvious to any excepting “my name is now X”.
                      Are you at all familiar with the concept of guns?
                      Were any guns involved in this claimed ‘forced action’?
                      I’d vote “brain-dead ignoramus” if I had to make the choice. Or maybe just “stupid”.

                    6. If I can’t get a job because unemployment is 20% in my community and I don’t have a vehicle or ability to move…because I have no money because I have no job, I could either steal (which I assume you wouldn’t be in favor of) or I could take a third option: join the military.

                      Or, you could accept charity. There are plenty of them that help the homeless in America. Seriously, when was the last time you heard of people in this country dying of starvation? It just doesn’t happen on it’s own because people have no means to find work.

                      Last time I looked, there were considerably more obese people in our nation than starving ones. They are more likely a majority in a nation with a centrally planned economy and limited individual liberty…basically what the Democrats would like for us to become.

      3. We should all note the irony of a progressive pointing out how libertarians are only marginally influential in one of the major parties.

        1. You could all note the irony when a progressive points out how libertarians are only marginally influential in one of the major parties.

          Call me when it happens.

          1. An Alphabet Soup Stain
            A Clown Car on Cinder Blocks

            The man/woman of many names is Elemenope.

            1. A narcissistic twit.

            2. Really? If so she seemed a lot more brusque this time around.

              I was thinking Chicago Tom or, God forbid, another incarnation of Gary Gunnels. The style didn’t fit thoreau or NM or joe from Lowell or Jersey McJones, however much the political perspective did.

              1. She’s said a couple of times that she loves crying clown porn, and she tried to shout out Epi and SugarFree when they were curt. It may be a former troll stealing her handle, but the style seems remarkably similar. I could be wrong.

                Here is why I think so, and the style is very similar throughout this thread to the link below. You’re also arguing the same exact topic, coincidentally. You can judge for yourself, Tulpa.

                https://reason.com/archives/200…..nt_1154414

                1. My mistake. I thought anyone still shilling for Bill Richardson would have to be from NM. El was from RI, I think, but then all those long gone “Obamatarians” run together.

                  1. Oh, that was you, SIV? I thought that comment was her/his. Reading your comment again, it makes more sense. I guess he/she may never know we might have figured it out. Given the condescension, see my sad face.

                    šŸ™

  5. The Bush/Obama hybrid dislayed here is quite scary.

    1. Tell me about it…

  6. I saw the mashup image of Bush and Obama last night on the front page of the WSJ, and I thought someone was ripping off Reason again…

    And then I saw Gillespie’s and Welch’s names on the piece!

    Reminds me that it’s time to make another donation to Reason. I think what Nick and Matt and a lot of other people around here do in terms of reaching out to non-libertarians is absolutely freakin’ awesome.

    And reading that abridged excerpt from “Declaration of Independents”, I think I’m getting what the book is about and what it’s for…

    I’m sure libertarians will enjoy it well enough, but it seems like the perfect book for libertarians to give their friends.

    1. With a donate today button on each story, do you think they know which stories get the most donations?

      Not that it matters–but keep up the good work guys! I don’t know of anybody anywhere that’s doing a better job of preaching the libertarian gospel–to the heathen!

  7. I’ve always been partial to this Bushbama pic myself.

    1. I prefer this one. It’s the most realistic.

    2. Amakudari, that’s the one I find the most disturbing too. That’s the one that really hits home.

      I suspect they had to go with one showing them both individually on the sides? Because this article wasn’t aimed specifically at a libertarian audience.

      For people who were absolutely convinced that Obama is the polar opposite of George W. Bush? They need it all spelled out for them in that image.

      Those people are already deeply confused–you can’t expect them to get there on their own.

      1. I’ll vote for Bushbama, because he’s Black.

        1. Both me ‘n’ George got this shiny award.

          http://policymic.com/articles/…..-war-prize

        2. Just for the record, I don’t find the image disturbing because anyone in it is “black”.

          I find it disturbing because it conveys an unpleasant truth about how Barack Obama in practice is virtually indistinguishable from George W. Bush. …meaning we have a lot less to choose from between the two major parties than most people think we have.

          I don’t see what race has to do with any of it. And just for future reference, please don’t project your apparent obsession with race on anything I write.

          1. Ken, we’re in violent agreement. You merely missed my point that, despite the “virtually indistinguishable” practice, some folks did, and will, vote for Obama simply because of his apparent race.

            1. If your opposition to Barack Obama’s policies has something to do with some people only voting for him because of his race?

              Then we are not in perfect agreement.

              I have no problem with people who have been legally discriminated against by their state governments–in their lifetimes–being thrilled at the prospect of having someone of their own race represent them and their children in the White House.

              In real life? My name is Ken Shultz.

              I have zero interest in having my name associated with opposition to Barack Obama based on how some people support him–because of his race?

              During the 2008 election, I used to go around here telling people I was gonna vote for Obama–because he was black…

              Just to tick off people like you!

              Barack Obama is a rotten president because of his policies–and because he’s just like George W. Bush was in a lot of ways.

              His race doesn’t have anything to do with my opinion. Some people supporting him because they want to have someone of their own race in the White House doesn’t have anything to do with anything I think–or anything I wrote up there either.

              1. I too can understand (if disagree with) the perspective of a black person voting for Obama just because he’s black. But I suspect the OP was referring to white people who voted for Obama because they liked the idea of a black president.

              2. Obama has proved that race has NOTHING to do with wrongheaded, destructive policies.

              3. If your opposition to Barack Obama’s policies has something to do with some people only voting for him because of his race?

                It doesn’t. I’ll “argue” with you no longer.

  8. What an incredibly unconvincing article.

    Look, I know your whole shtick is a sort of clap-for-tinkerbell belief that an earthly paradise of libertarian dominance is imminently upon us but, I mean, really, Jesus Christ.

    The words “Republican” and “Democrat” are just place-holders for shape-shifting coalitions. Today’s Democratic Party in no way resembles Grover Cleveland’s or William Jennings Bryant’s or Al Smith’s. Our Republicans have no relation with Lincoln, B. Harrison, W.H. Taft, or Robert Taft.

    The R- and D- labels are old but it’s always new wine in old skeins.

    What’s actually going on right now is that the economy sucks so every election is subject to greater-than-usual turnover.

    The great Libertarian Takeover–with prostitutes and privatized nuclear arms for everyone–is just another masturbatory daydream.

    Sorry.

    1. The economy didn’t suck in 2006, 2002, or 1994 which were the previous big swing elections. Other than that, great thesis.

    2. Dude if that is what you masturbate to – go for it.

      Most people around here are a little more grounded then that (SugarFree and Warty obviously excepted) .

    3. The R- and D- labels are old but it’s always new wine in old skeins.

      Nice turn of phrase.

    4. The R- and D- labels are old but it’s always new wine in old skeins.

      I’m sorry, but if you finish that Biblical allusion, you basically just made their point for them.

      “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.” -Luke 5:37-38

  9. OK, Nick and Matt, only through chapter 3, but you’re ‘way more optimistic than I am (from pg59):
    “Take government out of nonessential functions, and the endless disputes that separate us become the subject of friendly dinner arguments…”
    Not in SF, they don’t.
    Take the government out, and the dinner conversations become dramas about ‘people left to die in the streets, starving the poor, [etc]’. It’s not much time before the fangs start lengthening and it’s obvious the question at issue is plain POWER!.
    To illustrate, compare creationists to socialists. I have no sympathy for the belief that humans and dinosaurs shared the earth, no more than I do for the belief that some sky-daddy determines morals. Ditto for the belief that the government should control the economy.
    The difference is the creationists and sky-daddy bleevers have no ability to coerce my actions and/or beliefs. I may mock their beliefs, and they may mock mine, but…..
    While the socialists may or may not share my mockery of those beliefs (as many are bleevers in the sky-daddy), that’s not enough; they want to *force* those with different beliefs to conform to theirs.
    Public Choice theory writ small, but equally dangerous.

    1. It’s all friendly on the cosmo cocktail circuit. Not so much out here in flyover country.

      You know how many people de-friended me on Facebook over my responses to their political updates? Now THAT’s coercive.

      1. 1. I steal from you because I feel coerced by the universe

        2. ??????????

        3. PROFIT

        1. I was being tongue in cheek.

    2. Yeah, that’s pretty optimistic if you’re hanging out with people who believe that the personal is political, and that the removal of political services is therefore a personal act to be discussed always and everywhere.

  10. Ooops. Looks like we lost “A Silly Troll” or whatever s/he now uses.
    Hint: Your ‘clever’ use of multiple handles didn’t make you look any less silly than you are.

    1. Some of us have nothing going for us except our handle.

    2. Personally I think that a guy who clumsily posts an entire page’s contents (including the prior ninety comments or so) as one comment should refrain from accusations of silliness and stupidity, and from presenting himself as the arbiter of value and the standard by which all people ought to be judged. You know, for a least a few weeks or so, till people forget what a clumsy idiot you are.

      But looking back on some threads I missed I see that is pretty much all you are ever capable of, and I certainly wouldn’t want to take that away from you.

      So carry on. You were saying?

      1. Angry that no one recognizes you?

  11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwnhnRJGZKI

    I’m hooked on this song.

    ———

    I agree with whichever one of you posted about it above on the point of identical names being used for changing ideologies/a constantly changing consensus; I proudly consider myself an American republican, but of Jefferson’s kind (much more militant than him, however), not the ball-gobbling (and often majority-approved) quasi-statists that have spent the last century butt-fucking our republic with the progressives.

    I also understand that deontological bases for arguments and conversation with statists, and being a so-called “purist”, may permanently impede our ability to convince the rest of the country that we’re in really deep shit. And compromise tactics, I suppose, are unavoidable and necessary. But it’s extremely difficult to accept. I’m pretty much the sort of purist you’re worried about:

    Government may not regulate firearms, period.

    Government may not regulate health care and insurance providers, period.

    Government may not mandate education in state-approved institutions, period.

    Etc.

    Not a lot of wiggle room, I know, but that’s who I am.

    1. I posted this — forgot to change back my name after spoofing the ultra-statist.

      1. I must admit, I was in shock.

  12. Independent voters were created by the writing of the Constitution of the United States. There were no organized political parties in the United States until the election of 1800, when a political party started by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison took over the government. Since that time independent voters have been kept out of American government by election laws at state level that favor party candidates. However, independent voters now outnumber members of the largest political party, the Democrats. If all voters and all candidates for office should be independent voters, as George Washington advocated, then we can say that political parties are what Washington said they were, self-created societies that assume artificial authority in government.
    The two major parties are toast. They have been unable to stop independent voter registration in spite of their best efforts at state level. As soon as independent voters gain ballot access, no one will be voting for political party candidates. Independent voter registration was in single digits as recently as the administration of John F. Kennedy. The major parties have only been able to slow it, not stop it, since that time. Every time they slow it, it comes back stronger than ever. Political parties are done in this country. They are too expensive and too incompetent to continue to control the government.

    1. Yeah, the Adams administration was the pinnacle of political discourse in our history. How dare those Old Republicans unseat the wonderful independent government that gave us the Alien and Sedition Acts!

      Of course Prez Jeff was a tyrant in his own right (look at what he did to Aaron Burr), but that’s the way young revolutionaries tend to go.

  13. The evolution of executive grandeur ? from very comfortable to jet-setting ? reflects one of the primary reasons that the gap between those with the highest incomes and everyone else is widening.

    For years, statistics have depicted growing income disparity in the United States, and it has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression. In 2008, the last year for which data are available, for example, the top 0.1 percent of earners took in more than 10 percent of the personal income in the United States, including capital gains, and the top 1 percent took in more than 20 percent. But economists had little idea who these people were. How many were Wall street financiers? Sports stars? Entrepreneurs? Economists could only speculate, and debates over what is fair stalled.

    Now a mounting body of economic research indicates that the rise in pay for company executives is a critical feature in the widening income gap.

    The largest single chunk of the highest-income earners, it turns out, are executives and other managers in firms, according to a landmark analysis of tax returns by economists Jon Bakija, Adam Cole and Bradley T. Heim.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..ml?hpid=z1

    1. Someone’s going to have to re-teach me how to do quotes/italics. I don’t post here much.

      “In 2008, the last year for which data are available, for example, the top 0.1 percent of earners took in more than 10 percent of the personal income in the United States, including capital gains, and the top 1 percent took in more than 20 percent.”

      I don’t really care. If someone made that money through purely consensual transactions, that’s fine.

      If they made it because they were heavily subsidized by the government (via tax breaks, bailouts, direct payments, etc), or because the government regulated its competition out of existence, all very likely scenarios for these top company execs, then *THAT* is the problem.

      If someone accumulates a massive amount of wealth because they are able to invent new things that people want and are willing to spend money on, or get people the things they want in a more efficient manner than anyone else, etc, then everyone wins (even if that person wins a little more).

      1. [i]What you want to italicize[/i]

        BUT change the square brackets to angles.

        1. <i>italicized</i>
          <blockquote>block-quoted</blockquote>

      2. Thanks!

    2. All those urban “poor” who play with their smartphones throughout my bus commute, before leaving a pile of food wrappers, crumbs, and soda bottles on the seat when they get off, ought to be really pissed about income disparity.

  14. A President Obama impersonator was pulled off the stage Saturday at the Republican Leadership Conference, after telling a string of racially themed jokes about the president.

    The impersonator, Reggie Brown, took the stage at the annual presidential cattle call to the Bruce Springsteen song “Born in the USA” ? an apparent allusion to the birther controversy. He proceeded to tell a series of off-color jokes poking fun at Obama’s biracial heritage and a gay member of Congress.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..l?hpid=z10

    1. Yes, MNG. Yes! Put forth damning tales of the enemy’s machinations. You and your disciples shall surely convince the populace that slavery is freedom, as the God-Emperor proclaims.

      Eternal glory and supremacy to the magnificent God-Emperor, and to loyal subjects everywhere! Heil!

      1. This story will be bigger news in the national media by tomorrow afternoon that the gunrunning operation by our ATF that has ended in the death of hundreds of people.

        My question to minge is, why?

    2. …since Overlord Barack has proven himself to be an economy-wrecking militarist but not much else…….it is really stupid for them draw attention away from someone who is self-destructing…

    3. The fact they removed him from the stage shows the RLC has better taste than Democrats do. Remember BO chuckling while Wanda Sykes wished a painful death by kidney failure on a powerless radio personality?

      1. Shorter Tulpa: “Hey, look over there, behind you and a few years ago!”

        1. Team Blue!

  15. Boring longwinded troll with many names is boring.

  16. Matt and Nick: Excellent work, well done!

  17. John McCain is mightily displeased with Republicans losing their appetite for foreign military interventions. So is his lapdog:

    Asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if he’s fearful “that there is an isolationist streak now running now through the Republican Party, [Sen. Lindsey] Graham said, “Yes.”

    “If you think the pathway to the GOP (Republican) nomination in 2012 is to get to Barack Obama’s left on Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, you are going to meet a lot of headwinds,” Graham said.

  18. I wonder if Obama will be the President again? will the US people choose him again?

    Check about the 14th Amendment of United States Constitution

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