Politics

Extremism In Defense of Extremism Is No Vice

What's wrong with challenging the status quo?

|

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads," Woody Allen once said. "One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

Americans face a similar crossroads now. On the one hand, they can vote for the most extreme, dangerous bunch of radicals ever to appear on a ballot in an election year. Or if they prefer, they could vote for the most radical, dangerous bunch of extremists ever to—well, you know.

The other day the Democratic Party of Virginia sent out an email blast with the subject line "The most extreme line up ever." It warned that Democratic candidates this year were "running against a slate of extreme tea party Republicans who want to drag this Commonwealth backward. This year the stakes are higher than ever." The email goes along with the party's new video condemning—yep—"the most extreme Republican ticket in history."

This is but the latest example in a long and richly bipartisan tradition of bashing opponents as the most extreme bunch of lunatics ever to spew from Satan's colon. And while the wording changes slightly, the message never does. A couple decades ago, state Democratic Party Chairman Mark Warner was declaring the GOP candidates "the most extreme right-wing ticket ever"—while 300 hundred miles to the north, Republican Rudy Giuliani was opining that "Democratic primaries are won by the most extreme candidate." (Namely his opponent, whoever that turned out to be.)

The next year, Oliver North challenged Chuck Robb for the Senate, denouncing the moderate Democrat as an "extremist." Robb returned the favor. In 2001, state GOP director Ed Matricardi excoriated the Democratic lineup as the "most liberal" in Virginia's history, while Democrats termed the GOP ticket "the most right-wing" in years.

Last year, Mass Resistance, a Massachusetts-oriented political group, lamented: "Mass GOP Convention Nominates Most Extreme Pro-Gay & Anti-Family Gov & Lt. Gov. Candidates Ever." Which was odd, because about the same time, the abortion-rights website RH Reality Check was warning, in "More GOP Candidates More Extreme Than Ever," that "the 2010 crop of GOP candidates" displayed "more extreme stances on reproductive-rights issues than we've seen in a long time." So apparently the GOP was nominating candidates who were virulently both pro-gay and anti-abortion. Inscrutable, those Republicans.

During the 2008 campaign, John McCain denounced Barack Obama for having "the most extreme" voting record in the Senate. Obama, McCain said, "is more to the left than the announced socialist in the United States Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont."

Likewise Robert P. George, McCormick professor of jurisprudence at Princeton, who wrote a widely circulated piece contending that Obama was "the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. . . . Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress."

In some ways this amounts to nothing more than the silly hot air that all campaigns blow. It's pretty hard to get out the vote by saying, "The other guys? Ehhh, they're not so bad."

And in the heat of the campaign, many voters actually do convince themselves the other guys are the worst ever. The University of California's Jonas Kaplan studies the psychology of political affiliation. As he explains, "in the political process, people come to decisions early on and then spend the rest of the time making themselves feel good about their decision."

Many in the media are glad to help them do it, by serving up an endless train of alarmist articles about how one side or the other is chock-full of bug-eyed nut jobs pushing hidden agendas and radical ideas: Christian "dominionism" (Rick Perry), anti-colonialist Alinskyite subversion (Barack Obama), Straussian neoconservatism (George W. Bush).

Of course, it might be true that in some instances, a candidate really is the "most extreme ever" along some axis or another. But does this tell us anything important? Not so much.

Suppose that, in 1955, a Southern political candidate had declared segregation obscene, laws against ethnic intermarriage odious, and the notion of racial supremacy grotesque. Suppose he organized bus boycotts and lunch-counter sit-ins and marches for civil rights. Suppose he promised to overturn Jim Crow as soon as he took office. If any candidate had done that, he would have been widely denounced as the "most extreme" you-know-what-lover ever.

He also would have been right.

A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This article originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Advertisement

NEXT: Postal Service Goes Negative on These Newfangled Electronic Mails

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

  1. I think partisanship in general has a big fat silver lining, in that no President or Congress will ever be without guaranteed opposition from about a third of the country, minimum.

    I think that’s a good thing.

    1. Toothless opposition.

    2. Yeah, its good to have one group which favors empire pitted against a second group which favors empire.

      1. Yes, but it’s still better than feel-good bipartisan empire building.

  2. “There is a long and richly bipartisan tradition in America of bashing your opponent political opponents as the most extreme bunch of lunatics to ever crawl from Satan’s lair.”

    I don’t know about that. I just know that Progressives are America’s most horrible people.

    1. try changing the channel on the radio sometime

      1. Yeah, you’re right… Say, what did you think about Rush’s show yesterday?

      2. Try reading something besides the NYT.

      3. “try changing the channel on the radio sometime”

        I was being facetious!

        Sort of.

      4. It’s station on the radio and channel on television.

  3. People seek a sense of tribal belonging, and U.S. politics provides that. Which is why I tend to discount most of the mouth noises emanating from politicians of any stripe and their flunkies.

    In a way, this makes Ron Paul all the more extraordinary, simply because he has to know that he’d do better by dishing out some conservative platitudes at the debates rather than prattling on about the gold standard. But I really think that he’s out to advance a specific set of beliefs, and not simply his own career.

    1. “People seek a sense of tribal belonging, and U.S. politics provides that.”

      That’s exactly right. It’s like being a fan of a baseball or football team. Arguing with a lot of people about the issues is pointless–they believe issues x, y and z because they’re Republican or Democrat…and they’re Republican or Democrat for the same reason they root for the Red Sox or the Cowboys.

      Libertarians are probably less susceptible to that, but not entirely immune. There are people who identify with libertarianism who hang out here–right here on this very site–who get all bent out of shape if another libertarian takes a thoroughly libertarian view that conflicts with their vision of Libertarian Identity.

      It’s shameful.

      “But I really think that he’s out to advance a specific set of beliefs, and not simply his own career.”

      Just to be safe, I think we should dial back our expectations a little bit on that count.

      The libertarian solution to our problems isn’t a politician–not even a libertarian politician. …and I think Ron Paul has demonstrated a willingness to pander just like any other politician in the past, when he thought it was in his interests to do so.

      See NewletterGate for examples.

      1. “they believe issues x, y and z because they’re Republican or Democrat.”

        ……even if you can demonstrate that x, y or z are not in their self-interest.

        1. Right.

          It’s like trying to make a rational argument to people from Boston about why they shouldn’t root for the Red Sox. Rooting for their team isn’t something they do from their perspective–it’s who they are.

          I think Reason does an awesome job of trying to make the libertarian appeal to those people. According to Reason, libertarianism cares about infertile couples and unadopted babies. It cares about eminent domain abuse and lunch trucks. Things people identify with.

          I don’t tend to think in those terms much, so I don’t score a lot of points for the cause that way. So I give money to Reason. I don’t think there’s anyone else really doing what they do–makin’ our case to the public that way.

          1. This is why I am a die-hard Chiefs fan; it fills my tribalism need so that I can examine policy without a need for some rudimentary tribal identification.

            It also helps that as a Chiefs fan, I’ve become accustomed to failure. That way when the libertarian policy ideas are never implemented I’m not as let down as a Steelers fan (insert obligatory “Fucking Yinzers”).

            1. I took Jamaal Charles with my first pick this year.

              So, I’m not a Chiefs fan, but it still hurts.

              When I was a kid, my team’s fight song ended with:

              “Braves on the warpath,
              Fight for Old Dixie!”

              Talk about artificial tribal identities.

              1. I’m also a member of that particular sports tribe. Talk about becoming accustomed to failure…

      2. You’re probably right about Paul, but I do think he has shown more willingness to “go beyond the tribe,” so to speak. Either that, or he’s just very ineffective at telling enough people what they want to hear.

        As for libertarians and tribal tendencies, I absolutely agree. We’re just a slightly nerdier tribe, is all.

        One theory I have is that the lack of actual tribal identities (for the most part) in the USA makes our politics something of a “tribal substitute.” Racial politics is the closest we come to politics in other places.

        In most other parts of the world, politics revolves around actual tribal and cultural identities and differences. To the extent that politics doesn’t reflect those identities in other countries, the debates don’t tend to be as heated or emotional. German or French electoral politics, for example. You’ll notice that their politics heat up considerably when they become attached to tribal/cultural identification over there.

        Personally, I enjoy watching the Ezra Kleins and Michelle Malkins go at it. It’s like a wrestling match where there can never be winner, and they continue to just beat each other silly.

        1. “In most other parts of the world, politics revolves around actual tribal and cultural identities and differences. To the extent that politics doesn’t reflect those identities in other countries, the debates don’t tend to be as heated or emotional.”

          I’ve always thought of our sports identifications that way. People who didn’t graduate from a college with a big football program have pro sports teams to root for. And many of those sports teams have “tribal” Native American mascots with which to identify.

          Also in Europe, it seems that soccer “firms” are often highly political. The more fanatical the firm, it often seems to be the case, the more radical the politics.

          Anyway, I think you’re right about that. We Americans create tribal identities in other ways. And I think finding ways to make our case in that way is probably the key to making libertarianism a bigger force in the culture.

          1. Also in Europe, it seems that soccer “firms” are often highly political. The more fanatical the firm, it often seems to be the case, the more radical the politics.

            Absolutely correct. A visit to a Lazio v. Roma or Celtic v. Rangers match will confirm this.

      3. I agree with your main point about Paul. He is capable of pandering too. See immigration commercials from last presidential campaign. But I don’t think “NewletterGate” is an example of that at all, unless you’d like to point to a specific article that he actually wrote.

        1. At the very least, I think he allowed his name to be used to pander to certain elements in the militia movement. …at a time when that seemed like a good idea for a politician.

          Politicians don’t keep their seats through as many election cycles as he has without pandering–like a politician.

          I’m not saying that he doesn’t really believe what he says about the Fed, but some of the things I saw him say live on television when he had Bernanke on the camera–looked like pandering to me.

          Politicians pandering–even libertarian politicians–shouldn’t be shocking to anyone. But we should be aware that as good as Ron Paul may seem on the issues, he is a politician. And politicians are not the solution to our problems.

          Even if Ron Paul were somehow miraculously elected president, that wouldn’t solve our problems. The real problem with America is something no politician will ever say…

          The problem with America is the American people. Replacing the head of state here is just like replacing the head of state in Iraq. Regardless of whether you supported the Iraq War, getting rid of Saddam Hussein did not solve Iraq’s problems.

          They still have the same ethnic, political, economic, religious, and social problems that they had before. They used to blame Saddam Hussein for all their problems–once we were in charge, they started blaming the United States for all their problems. When we leave, maybe they’ll start taking responsibility for solving their own problems rather than waiting for the president of the United States or some dictator to solve their problems for them…

          The American people are just like that too. No politician will ever be the solution to our problems–not even Ron Paul. Barak Obama, as awful as he is, isn’t the source of our problems either. The American people are the source of the American people’s problems. The way we think. The way we treat politicians as if they were the solution to our problems. Until we get rid of the idea that politicians are going to solve our problems for us, our problems aren’t going away.

          And Ron Paul being the president wouldn’t change that math in the least. Until the American people are ready to embrace libertarian ideas…

          That’s why I give money to Reason and not Ron Paul! I think influencing the way Americans think is more important than trying to influence how they vote in any one election.

          https://www.reason.com/donatenow/donate.php

          1. I agree with you about the futility of politics, and politicians in general. By design, politicians are prone to corruption. Pandering and self serving behavior is probably a necessary trait to be a politician.

            But I slightly disagree with you about Ron Paul. I think he is providing a very useful service by carrying a message of liberty and freedom, and to discount this because he did some things that you or I don’t like is silly. Compared to any other mainstream politician Ron Paul has been a rock. Most Americans are not politically or economically literate, so I highly doubt most of them read Reason. I bet most don’t even watch the debates.

            Furthermore, I would argue that Ron Paul has been extremely consistent, and his message has not changed that much. I am impressed with how little he sacrifices of his message to remain in the public view.

            1. “I think he is providing a very useful service by carrying a message of liberty and freedom, and to discount this because he did some things that you or I don’t like is silly.”

              I think it’s useful too, but it’s not really the message I want to send–because it’s a politician that’s the messenger.

              How do we tell people that politicians aren’t the solution to our problems–so we should vote for Ron Paul?

              That’s not my libertarian message.

              “Most Americans are not politically or economically literate, so I highly doubt most of them read Reason.”

              They may not read Reason–but they read the Washington Post! They watch Gillespie on Red Eye. They see Welch on Fox Business News. Tim Cavanaugh showed up on my local news station in LA talking about the mess in Bell, Ca. They read Balko on the Huffington Post.

              These people are preaching the gospel truth–and not just to the choir here at Hit & Run. …and best of all, they’re not running for office. What America needs is more free minds and more free markets.

              If we ever get that, free politicians may soon follow, but even then we should be highly skeptical of anyone who seeks power in the name of letting it go.

      4. and they’re Republican or Democrat for the same reason they root for the Red Sox or the Cowboys.

        Why would anybody root for the Red Sox or Cowboys?

        1. The same reason they line up to hear bagpipe music, drink green beer, wear cowboy hats and talk like Billy Gibbons in “La Grange”.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vppbdf-qtGU

        2. because they are insecure and this is there chance to be in with the popular kids. You never hear folks claiming to be Chargers fans or Pirates fans.

  4. “Extreme”: an idea whose time has come.

  5. One big problem is that “extremist” and “extremism” have conflated two meanings. One of them, as used in the column here, simply refers to being extreme. The other refers to the accpetance of violent means to achieve aims, which may or may not even be extreme aims.

    1. You’re overthinking this. At least by the standards of modern U.S. political discourse.

      Extremism = things I don’t agree with.
      Moderate = things I do agree with.

      1. I agree with you completely — you are fair and balanced.

      2. same w “judicial activism” = decisions one doesnt agree with

      3. Chris is absolutely right, at least as far as I’ve seen it used lately. It’s an official Democrat talking point that any Republican policy they are arguing against be labeled “extremist” on the talk shows. Anything. Want to increase spending on school lunch programs, but not by as much as they want to increase it? That’s an “extremist” position. Really.
        Want to confiscate everyone’s guns in complete violation of Amendment 2? That’s just a common sense regulation.
        Meanwhile, the Republican primary candidates get to argue over HPV vaccines, which I guess I didn’t realize were the real problem our nation was facing.

    2. I think Tom Woods has it summarized pretty nicely. If you disagree with both Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton on any given issue then you are an “extremist”.

      1. That’s a moving target, though, since “belief” for Mitt and Hillary is more a matter of convenience than conviction.

  6. Somehow, the narrative has to change, i.e., that professing the idea that the state should play any role in any person’s life is the very quintessence of extreme.

    1. Coercion should be the last refuge, not the first one.

    2. There’s a question about how to present the libertarian solution as mainstream though.

      The idea that people should be free to save for their own retirements and finance their own healthcare–shouldn’t be such an extreme notion.

      Somehow the idea that people should take care of their own elderly parents became extreme. That’s a tough line to walk–what do we do when common sense becomes extreme to most people’s ears?

      1. It’s simple, really. Trust no one!

        1. Or maybe we appeal to them by denouncing them as statist sheeple?

          1. I’m mostly serious. Our system of government and our very culture was based on a profound distrust of government. Get us back to that, and we’ll do much better.

            1. “Our system of government and our very culture was based on a profound distrust of government.”
              OK, but your earlier statement was to “Trust no one!”
              One of the surprising things about the market is how much we *do* trust people.
              I stick a piece of plastic in a machine in Stuttgart and get money! I trust I get the right amount; those dispensing the money trust they get paid, etc.
              Pretty much required for a market to work.

              1. As I said, “mostly serious.” The part about the not-government is the unserious part. Though I do advise a healthy amount of skepticism in all dealings with others. Unless you’re a solipsist.

            2. Pro, that’s a very good question, without an easy answer.

              One clue might be that the average person on an average day has little direct contact with the government, other than maybe going to the post office. And look at all the grumbling about that.

              When government “happens” to other people, it’s easy to look the other way. Especially so when it results in something that benefits me personally in some way.

              Also, the very size and scope of the government makes it more difficult to comprehend. Many of the “jackbooted thugs” are wearing suits and ties and do their damage from a computer keyboard.

            3. ….t-shirt will get you arrested or beat up at a gathering of neo-progressives nowadays.

          2. I was enjoying a couple of beers at a local watering hole last week, and somehow, the topic turned to politics. The strangers I was talking with got pretty riled up when I said that I was libertarian, mostly because they didn’t have a basic understanding of the word. As we talked about different issues, I offered bottom-up solutions. I contrasted spontaneous order versus top-down planning. Oddly, the point that my fellow drinkers had a hard time grasping was that libertarians adhere to the non-aggression principle. They felt that we were going to stick it to them. It seems most people’s political views are based on fear, and the D’s and R’s are happy to oblige. I tried to counter that fear by explaining that commerce, mutually beneficial human interaction, is the way the world really works. Did I convert those folks to libertarians? No. But I was able to show the personal, simple, logical, pragmatic foundation of libertarianism. Which is much better than calling folks “statist sheeple”. Plus I got to drink beer, so I had that going for me.

            1. “They felt that we were going to stick it to them.”

              I agree that this is the fundamental misconception about libertarianism.

              Dare I say, “…even among some libertarians”?

              My strategy isn’t to seize the levers of power by way of an election and cram libertarianism down everyone’s throats using the coercive power of government.

              That is what Progressivism is all about. And most people assume that’s what libertarians want to do too. They think we just disagree about what we want to do with all that coercive power.

              They’re so friggin’ wrong. And sometimes when you explain it to them? They get all bent out of shape because they think you’re calling them a bunch of coercive thugs for trying to do that to everyone else.

              …and often that’s because I am calling them a bunch of coercive thugs for trying to do that to everyone else.

              1. Reminds me of a conversation I had with my brother. He was absolute in his support of public schools. When challenged to explain, his rationale basically was, you can’t trust people to educate their own kids. Not him of course, other people. So the government has to force them. But once he’d articulated that, I asked him if really believed that a government employee cared more about his kids than he did. And there was a long pause…I think I’m breaking through.

                1. No, neighbor, you are not a coercive thug for supporting grab and grope of grandma at the airport;

                  No, neighbor, you are not a coercive thugh for supporting the arrest, prosecution and incarceration of those who refuse to pay tribute to IRS.

                  No, neighbor, you are not a coercive thug for supporting the drug war and its attendant murders, home invasions, pet assasinations and subsidies for the prison building / prison administration / surveillance complex.

                  No, neighbor, you are not a thug for supporting a double standard by which those who adminster justice make sure that you get the short end of the stick in any conflict with them.

                  No, neighbor, you are not a coercive thug for supporting mandatory participation in state sponsored ponzi schemes like social security.

                  No, neighbor, you are an ideal subject.

              2. OUCH!

              3. It isnt that they think you are calling them a bunch of coercive thugs. They get bent out of shape because you are pointing it out in a way that makes them realize they are a bunch of coercive thugs.

            2. When you get Republicans parroting every facet of your economic philosophy and using it to sell plutocracy and infinite warmongering, the non-aggression “principle” is sort of beside the point.

              1. Like liberalism is any fucking better…

              2. WHAT?

                You can’t even grasp the simplest tenets of libertarianism, can you?

                There is no libertarian anywhere who condones a plutocracy or warmongering. If the Republicans are twisting the economic philosophy to that end, THEY are responsible (and reprehensible), NOT the libertarian economic philosophy.

                You are misidentifying the cause of the effect. Oh, but I forgot. Liberals don’t believe in the law of cause and effect.

                1. That was @Tony… if there was a doubt.

                  1. Team Red, Team Blue… you’re gonna get that from both, Francisco.

      2. It’s pretty simple. People of all political persuasions are protective of their own money. However, generations’ worth of tax withholding has made it so that people don’t think of the withheld monies as ever being their own. A side effect is a form of magical thinking–that government revenue just appears out of nowhere and can be used to paper over the fact that life is inherently difficult.

        If people had to write checks to the IRS and state government every month, I believe things would change almost overnight.

      3. The idea that people should be free to save for their own retirements and finance their own healthcare–shouldn’t be such an extreme notion.

        They are and forever will be. A social safety net is about making sure that everyone is taken care of even if they didn’t/couldn’t plan well or their children are shitheads. It equals more freedom. Not only can you plan for your own retirement and pay for whatever treatments you want, but you won’t risk poverty for retiring or needing healthcare. How is that less freedom? Because you have to pay for it?

        Capitalism is about rewarding risk-taking. All a safety net does is allow more people the opportunity to take financial risks and prosper in capitalism. It simply removes the most dire possibilities so that risk-taking doesn’t result in catastrophe. It’s more freedom, not less, and you should be happy to pay for such a service, because if you’re going to celebrate the virtues of capitalism, you could easily be on the losing end of its risks.

        1. “A social safety net is about making sure that everyone is taken care of even if they didn’t/couldn’t plan well or their children are shitheads.”

          Actually, what we have is making things much worse than they would be otherwise.

          Term for the day, Tony: Moral Hazard.

          Encouraging generations of people to imagine that caring for their elderly parents is the government’s responsibility? Doesn’t discourage people from shirking their responsibility to care for their elderly parents.

          To the contrary!

          1. Why can’t it be society’s responsibility too? Not everyone is going to be able to afford to take care of their own family and their parents. Do we just let them go into poverty, to prevent “moral hazard”?

            1. Why have private retirements at all, then? Just make everyone live on the same state-provided pittance, and we call ALL wind up shopping at Aldi’s for the best canned dog-food deals.

              Of course, that would include presidents and Congressmen…

            2. I’ve lived in undeveloped parts of the world…

              One of the things they always wanted to ask me about America? Was whether it was true that Americans send their grandparents off to live with strangers.

              Poor people have been caring for their elderly parents for thousands of years. The sort of wide scale abandonment of the elderly we have here in the U.S. is a direct result of the government programs you’re championing.

              The term for the other day was “moral hazard”…well here’s a new term for you to learn about today–“unintended consequences”.

              The government spending billions in tax payer money to shore up Wall Street when they get in trouble because of the risks they took? Actually encourages Wall Street to abdicate their responsibilities.

              Encourage people to abandon their elderly parents to government programs by providing financing for the abandonment? That encourages people to abandon their elderly parents to government programs.

              It’s not that hard to understand, Tony.

              Good intentions don’t count for shit if they end up stripping people of what would be their retirement savings their whole lives–and then to add insult to injury, we encourage their children to abandon them to Social Security and Medicare when they’re elderly?

              Not only will the government say it’s okay to abandon your elderly parents–they’ll pay for the whole thing! In undeveloped countries? They look at abandoning their elderly parents like we look at people who abandon their children.

              It is like paying people to abandon their children. …and people who try to justify that with their good intentions should be ashamed of themselves.

  7. Aside from all of the “extreme” hyperbole, what I don’t understand is why Obama hasn’t realized that running further left is killing his re-election chances. He has a blueprint from Clinton that lines up almost perfectly with the conditions of the mid 90’s, and he could simply tack a little to the center, throw some occasional bones to his base (DADT, troop draw downs) and let the conservatives write some pro-business policies to turn the economy around.

    Everyone LOVED Clinton despite the fact that he was a total sleezball. He just wanted to party with you and play his sax! Look at that fucking hipster!

    Instead Obambi is throwing that opportunity away and doubling down on failed progressive policies.

    I don’t get it.

    1. Do you remember Bill Clinton pushing for aboilition of the IRS, the DEA, the drug war, the income tax, the mass murder of Iraqi children, the FBI, the capital gains tax, the administrative state, the NLRB, affirmative action and other special group / think inpsired goodies and the like?

      He was, is and will forever be a socialist / statist who fundamentally endorses the worldview of Obama.

      1. …Willie tossing a few bombs around Asia, Afrika and Europia to distract from his follies at home.

    2. He’s a true ideologue, that’s why.

    3. He’s partly concerned that his grand compromise on PPACA has disillusioned his progressive base. His worry is that, unless he turns left on a few issues to get his base motivated, they won’t show up and vote for him.

      Of course, the GOP will do their damnedest to help him out. If Perry, Bachmann, Palin, or even Romney get the nomination (and any number of others who don’t bear mentioning because they stand no chance i,e, Santorum), the progressives will hold their noses and vote for Obama as the lesser evil/known quantity.

      But the GOP can wise up and nominate Johnson or Paul. Either of those guys, while maybe not getting significant progressive votes (although I imagine Paul would get a few) would be sufficiently attractive enough where progressives fed up with Obama wouldn’t feel the compelling need to show up and vote Obama to prevent a Palin presidency.

    4. Meh, Clinton got re-elected because Republicans ran Bob Dole. His approval ratings were in the 40s. He would have lost to Colin Powell.

      He got popular in his second term.

      1. and don’t forget the Dems dug up Perot and got him to run again splitting the vote.

    5. tman,
      because unlike Clinton, a professional politician who leaned left but understood pragmatism was necessary for getting some things done, Obama is a committed ideologue whose inexperience in the political process shines through daily. You never heard Clinton, or Bush or Reagan, et al talk about transformational change. They had belief systems but each fundamentally believed in America as a good place.

      The campaigner-in-chief sees it as a flawed place and wishes to remake it into Denmark with a bigger back yard. He so intently buys into the BS about his hyper-intelligence and oratory that he is unable to brook contrary ideas. Look at whose knees he learned at; he is exactly who some thought him to be.

      1. He was who we thought he was!

    6. Obama’s a committed leftist? Shut the fuck up. Obama is doing exactly what Clinton did – triangulate, triangulate, triangulate. And he’s doing it in an environment that is much more hostile to interventionism than before, making Obama arguably more right-wing than Clinton.

      Disregarding the actions of the administration that are basically Bush on steroids – surveillance state, drug war, foreign policy, torture etc., what has he done that is so leftist?

      Suggesting that maybe the top 2,5 percent should pay a little more in taxes? Wow, what a crazy pinko. Newsflash: ask Clinton and he wouldn’t hesitate to say it out loud: raise taxes now. (And Obama’s not even willing to fight for it – if GOP won’t go along with it, he always, ALWAYS gives up.)

      Pushing for a tiny sliver of stimulus, most of which is tax cuts? Wow, what an ideologue. Economic interventionism is, you know, such a fringe idea in conventional economics.

      If you paid any attention to how Obama is placing himself on the Washington scale, he’s always brownnosing the GOP, never leaning to the left. His message to his base is usually “Chill out and stop whining, I’ve got this thing on lockdown so just STFU.” And if “Washington moderate” looks left to you, it’s because in a conventional scale from interventionism (left) to laissez-faire (right*), libertarians are so far to the right that everything is to the left of us. And even though spending is higher than ever before, the rhetoric is, at least superficially, much more right-wing than in the 90’s.

      *The right-wing isn’t actually laissez-faire, as we all know, only superficially so. But that’s how this game is set up in the minds of most people so I went along with it.

  8. The world would be a better place if everybody agreed with me. And gave me their money.

    1. Since you agree with me, when can I expect a check?

  9. I’m all for extremism, EXCEPT when it comes to beer… Do we really need another barrel-aged, double-dry-hopped soured cherry mocha triple IPA?

    1. I’ve tried the sours, but can’t bring myself to embrace them. Russian River’s Consecration was like drinking fermented sour patch kids. I guess it has its place, but it seems to un-beerlike for my tastes.

      That said, some extreme stouts can really tickle my fancy.

      1. Ommegang Zuur is great. Much more subtle on the sour cherry notes.

        Too many of the craft beer companies think they are selling Mountain Dew. It’s got to be EXTREME! Hop it, hop, and hop it again! Don’t stop until it tastes like battery acid. Imperials have to taste like eating charcoal and whites have to taste like grapefruit and Pine Sol.

        1. I trust most everything from Ommegang, probably the best Belgian style brewer in the states (presumably because they’re actually Belgian). I did quite enjoy the Three Philosophers and felt the cherry notes in that were the right balance, although admittedly not a sour type.

          As for IPAs and the hop-frenzy, I like grapefruit juice a lot and drink it every morning, so I’m a big more conditioned to the bitterness of the extreme DIPAs. That said, if you get a six pack of some IPA and upon cracking the first its just too hoppy, let the remainders sit a month or two and the hop notes will transform. I might be odd in this regard, but I prefer my Pliny with two months of age on it. Transforms the more assertive citrus bitterness into more of a cannabis-earthy hop note.

          And, as far as IPAs are concerned, Dogfish Head’s 90 minute is probably my favorite, nice solid malty backbone that balances the brew a lot better than most IPAs.

          1. so you like an older Elder, I prefer my Elders younger. Unless I can get a Younger, and I wouldn’t want an older Younger. 🙂

            1. Working out a trip to RR in February to get a little younger on tap. Nothing like a little fountain of youth. I like the Elder younger as well as older, and having not had the Younger I’m not sure if he’d be better a bit older or not.

              1. this conversation is teetering toward an Abbott & Costello routine. I haven’t had the Younger yet.

        2. It takes time for the palate to be ready for the Imperials. For me, it was worth it.

      2. I really dig certain sours (I love New Belgium’s La Folie, and Leipziger Gose–a soured wheat brewed with salt and coriander–is one of my favorite styles) but others are just nasty to me. I had Russian River Beatification, rated an A on BeerAdvocate, and it tasted like horse piss strained through a bail of hay. Just disgusting.

        1. Haven’t tried Beatification but I heart Supplication and Sanctification.

      3. KBS, Bourbon County, Speedway, Old Viscosity, The Abyss, Yeti….yummy tasty stouts. Yes please.

        1. I’ve yet to get my hands on a KBS, but a buddy has one and we’re gonna crack it together when the weather turns cold here in SoCal.

          As for the others, Oak Aged Yeti might be my favorite stout to date, but still need to give the Old Viscosity a whirl.

          1. Sudden, thanks for the tip about the Bruery in Placentia. Haven’t had the beers, but I think I’ll head out there in a couple of hours!

            1. Definitely go over the winter season. I’ve not yet had any of their Christmas seasonals, but I’ve heard some rave reviews.

          2. I just got a hold of a barrel aged Santa’s Little Helper, got to let that mellow for a bit–yummy. Speaking of Patrick Rue’s beers, have you had Chocolate Rain?

            1. No, but I’m definitely gonna be looking to try it soon. Had to cut back on my beer budget a bit with my wedding coming up next weekend. Its been all affordable crafts for me lately. But I’ll be getting back to the bombers of craft once the winter comes. No way I can go through a winter season without having at least two bombers of some phenomenal stout a week.

              1. Congrats on the nuptials. My beer budget took a hit with the birth of our first child in July. Fortunately, I built up a moderate cellar, 100 bottles or so at last count, before that occurred. The stash is primarily filled with bombers of porters, stouts, and barleywines. I love winter beer drinking, though I’ll drink an RIS after mowing the lawn on a hot August day.

                1. I had built up a modest beer cellar of around 20 bottles, pretty similar mix to that with a few beglian styles thrown in the mix, but had a series of different friends come by the place recently and poured a wide sampling of styles. A little sad about it though, really wanted to get some more age on a few of those. Love aging the barleywines especially. A good age on those smooths out the hoppy front that some have and just does wonders to the malts. Ah, time to grab a few more Bigfoots and Old Numbskulls and try getting them to sit in my cellar for a year without being overwhelmed with the temptation to gorge myself.

                  1. I have an Old Numbskull, I wish I had access to Alesmith. I also love putting some age on Old Ales. It’s pretty damn difficult to leave the cellar alone. I do sample tastings every now and then and that’s fine. I have trouble finding an inbetween beer that I want to drink on a more regular basis. Part of my problem is living in Tennessee and not having access to some of the better regional breweries. This is why we brew a shit ton of beer in the neighborhood…

                    1. I’m a bit spoiled living in SoCal. So many good breweries and availability around here. Plus, my little suburban outpost north of L.A. has added three new brewpubs in the last year. But I have great access to most Alesmith, Green Flash, Stone, a good amount of RR, Great Divide, etc. If you ever need some beermail, I’d be happy to send a few bottles your way to help you with the cellar.

                      My BeerAdvocate profile, complete with the ultimate Libertarian avatar

                    2. http://beeradvocate.com/user/profile/Patio41

                      Though I rarely use BA, and I’m not much of a trader. (Yet)

                    3. I’m not big user either, but figured I’d give you that in case there was some particular limited release that comes out from a brewer distributed in California that you really want to add to the collection. Even if I have to drive down to SD or up to the bay to get it, nothing like a nice exceuse to take a weekender.

                    4. Excellent, thanks. And within an hour of here I have access to Founders, Bell’s and Three Floyds, so I can help you out as well.

  10. what I don’t understand is why Obama hasn’t realized that running further left is killing his re-election chances

    Oh, but he has.

  11. O/T: THIS IS WHAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY BELIEVE.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09…..d=fb-share

    The seventh paragraph is absolutely precious.

    1. Warning: Krugman content. Head may explode.

      1. AHHH FUCK!……BANG!

    2. First of all, I doubt seriously that businesses just sit on money. It’s going to be put somewhere where it makes more money.

      Second, to the extent that businesses aren’t expanding, why is that? There’s a general recession, of course, but there’s also incessant meddling by the government, taking the advice of idiots like Krugman. You think maybe uncertainty might create a disincentive for investment?

      1. Making claims like that might at least seem somewhat plausible during good times if someone is attempting to bolster an argument for something like better wages. However, to go from acknowledging the existence of a particularly nasty recession in one breath to claiming that businesses are hoarding piles of cash in the next is downright stupefying. I wonder if Krugman has ever proofread one of his own columns and said, “Damn. I sound completely fucking delusional.”

      2. I need to find those secret corporate basements full of piles of cash. They probably have dragons guarding them, though.

        1. Just wear a monocle, and they’ll let you in.

          1. A monocle alone might be taken as an imposter. To be safe, carry a cane drenched in the blood starving children that you forced to fight to the death for a morsel of bread crumbs and make sure its bedazzled in slave-mined Sierra Leone diamonds.

            1. Just make sure you carry monocle insurance!

      3. You think maybe uncertainty might create a disincentive for investment?

        Exactly. With interest rates at an all time low, the ROI threshold for investing that cash should be pretty low. The fact that businesses aren’t investing indicates that a.) uncertainty (risk) premiums are too high, and b.) businesses are predicting higher inflation rates. Probably a combination of both.

        1. Frankly, I think one thing that’s keeping the recession from being worse is that people with jobs are buying stuff instead of investing, because the investment options are so uncertain.

          1. Yep. $10,000 worth of audio/video equipment may be worth more in one year than $10,000 of S&P 500 stocks. And at least you get to enjoy your home theater.

    3. Reading the comments is even funnier.

      I wonder what color the sky is in the world that these people live in?

      1. It’s whatever color their leaders tell them it is, apparently. Reality-based community, you know.

    4. Ha – that’s basically the same as a Daily Kos article and comments I pointed people at a little while ago. Yes, leftists really do think that rich people and companies put their cash in a giant pile and swim around in it like Scrooge McDuck. This is apparently because they are ignorant of how banks and financial markets work; they certainly seem to also think that if money is invested, it goes off to the magical Speculation Dimension, where it has absolutely no effect on real things like jobs, factories, product development, etc.

  12. “…extreme bunch of lunatics ever to spew from Satan’s colon.”
    _
    well written mr hinkle!

  13. What’s wrong with challenging the status quo?

    There’s more graft with the Status Quo. Any challenge to the Status Quo is a challenge to the rent-seekers and their income, which explains why such challenges are labeled as “extreme” by the terminally hyperbolic.

  14. Extremism, we hates it! Begone, you racist homophobe plutocrats!

    The Republican template has been in stark view at presidential debates lately. It is a program to wind down the government’s longstanding guarantee of health care to the elderly and the poor and incinerate the Democrats’ new promise to cover the uninsured; to abolish the Department of Education and its effort to raise national standards; to stop virtually all regulation of the environment and the financial industry; to reimpose military discrimination against gays and lesbians, deport immigrants, cut unemployment insurance and nutrition programs, raise taxes on the poor and lower them for the rich.

    The candidates who pander to their party’s lowest instincts are often egged on by the heartlessness of audience members at the debates. “Has anybody been watching the debates lately?” Mr. Obama asked in San Jose, Calif. He added: “You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have health care and booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay. That’s not reflective of who we are.” (Mr. Obama might also have mentioned the lusty cheers for Gov. Rick Perry’s record of presiding over 234 executions in Texas.)

    There are many voters who are understandably dispirited or disillusioned with the Democrats. They might consider following a presidential suggestion and spending an evening or two watching the Republican debates. The Democrats lose their nerve at times. They are divided and factionalized and unsure, but they largely do not share what Mr. Obama called “a cramped vision that says you’re on your own.”

    It would be a tragedy if corporate interests were allowed to attempt to influence the electoral process; that should be left to legitimate news media outlets!

    1. Unless of course you are a solar power company. Then your influence is welcome.

  15. I wonder if Krugman has ever proofread one of his own columns and said, “Damn. I sound completely fucking delusional.”

    This recession was caused by a complete absence of regulation in the financial sector. Honest.

  16. the point that my fellow drinkers had a hard time grasping was that libertarians adhere to the non-aggression principle. They felt that we were going to stick it to them.

    It’s obviously a, you know, TRAP!

  17. Bullshit bullshit bullshit!

    The only people who doggedly cling to a ‘team’ in politics are those who have no clue as to what they are talking about. Those who arrived at a conclusion without understanding the process of how they got there.

    Sorry, but most of the informed persons I know are on the…..right. And I don’t know any on the right who adore any politician like the left often does (see: Obama).

    Every economic libertarian/conservative I know can fully defend their positions, say, on minimum wage laws and how they destroy jobs. And left offers up in response: You’re mean! You hate workers! Tax the rich! You wanna see the working poor starve!

    It’s the left that clings doggedly to their team of Dems. If the Libertarian party could do better than Bednarik or Wayne Allen Root or the wildly unelectable (at the national level; thanks to his silly views on foreign policy) Ron Paul, then people on the right would coalesce less around traditional RINO McCain/Bush/Huntsman republicans.

    I vote R simply to block the left. Because that’s what any sane person would do. Not because R is my team. I’m my team. And the D’s are hellbent on destroying me all in the name of fairness.

    Well, fuck that!

    1. McCain, Romney, Reagan, Bush, Ford et al couldn’t carry Wayne Allen Root’s used condum, never mind his jockstrap.

    2. By “His silly views on foreign policy,” I assume you mean his view that we don’t need military bases in over 100 countries, and we don’t need to invade a new sand-based country every 2 years to appease the anti-terrorism gods?

  18. The mainstream political situation IS THE EXTREME!

    There’s nothing, not one petty aspect of your life that is not subject to the government’s control. What could be more extreme than that?

  19. It’s obviously a, you know, TARP!

    Is what I think you meant to say…..

    (nothing wrong with a pun every now and then)

  20. Say what you will about Bill Clinton, at this point I’d be willing to repeal the 22nd Amendment and take him back.

    1. He was actually a pretty crappy president. The economic boom that had nothing at all to do with our government wouldn’t magically come again, nor are we likely to have a temporarily reform-minded Congress to rein him in. Besides, he’s sounded off the reservation lately, anyway.

      I think we’re giving him too much credit for the political expediency of lurching to the right after 1994. It’s only in the light of the just pathetically awful Obama administration where unprincipled political trickery seems like a nice idea.

      1. I attribute the good economy on Clinton’s watch to the Barney Frank/Fannie Mae/Freddy Mac/affordable housing scam. Lots of money was being made in the housing bubble, in sort of a backdoor stimulus – gov’t forced the lenders to make bad loans instead of gov’t doling out the money. Fuckers.

        1. There were a lot of factors, I think. Some opportunities came with the freeing of Eastern Europe–not to mention the so-called “peace dividend”–and we really started to tap into the economic benefits of widespread computer use. Not just the Internet, which really didn’t explode until late in the decade, but in things like inventory management (one of Walmart’s secrets).

          1. “There were a lot of factors, I think. Some opportunities came with the freeing of Eastern Europe–not to mention the so-called “peace dividend””

            Slashing the military by over 50% didn’t hurt the economy any.

        2. Fannie/Freddie action underscored it, sure, but remember also, this timeline:

          – dotcom boom, dotcom bust
          – stopgap easing, which should expire, but doesn’t, due to…
          – 9/11
          – patriot == shopper
          – stopgap easing & stimulus, which should come to an end, but doesn’t, due to…
          – ‘economic downturn’ i.e. great recession
          – stopgap easing, stimulus, easing, stimulus, repeat ad infinitum…

  21. I think we’re giving him too much credit for the political expediency of lurching to the right after 1994.

    We can’t turn the clock back. At the time, I doubt anybody could have dared to dream of the unfettered power now available to the office.

    I think Clinton would be delighted to take the powers added to the Presidential quiver by Bush and run, bit firmly clenched in his teeth, over the horizon to his own special never-never land.

    As most of us are painfully aware, the Patriot Act was in large part a pre-fab wish list of new police powers people like Janet Reno (and Ed Meese) had been clamoring for for years, but had never managed to muscle past the Congress. It took a Republican President, Republican Congress, and compliant SCOTUS, whipped into action by a nationwide hysteria to make it happen.

    We’re fucked.

    1. No it took 9-11. The Patriot Act passed with nearly unanimous support. It would have passed and looked nearly the same had the party in power been reversed.

  22. Shorter: Clinton may have been crappy, but he accepted that there are actually supposed to be limits on what the President can do.

    The new guy, not.

  23. Don’t look now but easily the most extreme group of folks I’m familiar with are libertarians. Now that might not be such a bad thing; to some extent extremism means consistency and being principled. But if extremism means anythin it means glossing over distinctions of degree (like where everything is SLAVERY and TYRANNY for example) and a tendecy to give tremondous weight to the values on one side of an issue while being quick to dismiss the values on the other side (for many people issues like TSA searches present a thorny issue of liberty/privacy vs. security, but for extremists only one side of the ledger has much value).

    In any debate libertarians tend to identify the liberty side of the argument and put all their weight behind it, calling anyone who thinks the values on the other side (welfare, security, etc) things like STATIST FUCK or SLAVER. That’s what extremism looks like…

    1. That’s idiotic. We’re not advocating the use of force for much of anything, we’re not in power at all, we’re not the ones who think suppression of civil liberties is just peachy so long as the government does it/it serves a preferred outcome.

      Sure, people who want limited government and freedom are frustrated and angry with the way things have gone. Most oppressed people are angry, you know.

      There’s something wrong with you if you aren’t pissed at the status quo. Calling us extremists is just another way of saying, “Shut up and submit.”

      1. If you actually have a different view of the role of government, a role that pretty much ruled this country for at least half of its history, you are an “extremist”. Meanwhile the people who think that reducing spending to 2007 levels is unthinkable are totally reasonable. WTF?

      2. If I defined extremism as having power or advocating force then you’d have a point PL, but I didn’t. I defined it as people that tend to see and weight only one side of the scale of values in debating big issues. Can you deny that the way libertarians do this for every issue is to say “Liberty side wins!!!”

        1. In other words you define extremism as those people who don’t agree with you. Got it.

        2. Except that the country is totally based on our philosophy, and we’re protesting the shift to mostly illegal authoritarianism. Naturally, you as a statist would view our attitude as extreme. We view the usurpation of power by the government as extreme, too. Along with those who applaud it.

          1. That’s silly. On a lot of issues I oppose government action because I often value liberty over the other values proposed. But kind of what it means to be a libertarian is to have liberty trump other values in those debates.

            People here call anyone a statist that disagrees with the libertarian line on more than one or two issues, even if they oppose government power more often than not. It’s because they value liberty so greatly that it quickly outweighs any other value in any debate. That, dude, is what an extremist is, a single minded promotion of one value at the easy expense of all others.

            1. I know we have to balance our personal freedom and autonomy with the value of letting people tell us what to do.

              Lets talk specifics, what are these other values? And under what circumstances short of anarchy, which no one here is a an anarchist, does some other value outweigh liberty? I really can’t think of any. And don’t give me some law and order answer. We are not talking privacy. We are talking liberty. My ability to do what I want and live my life how I want it.

              I would say someone who values the marginal benefit of government funded obesity programs over people’s liberty to eat and live how they want is the extremist, not the person who values liberty.

              The only place you might have a point is discimination laws. In contrast, your side is extremist on any number of issues. The Left thinks that it should be able to control what people eat, control what they read, say, and think. You can’t make so much as a dirty joke in the American work place without risking litigation. I can’t think of a single value that you and your ilk don’t value higher than liberty. But we are the extremists. Got it.

            2. It’s people like you, allowing just one more incursion on our rights, just one more expansion of government power, who’ve gotten us to the situation we’re in today.

              I suppose nuclear power plant technicians are extremists in wanting to absolutely contain radiation.

    2. Fuck off slaver.

      Sorry, but that was obligatory.

    3. and you never meet any extremists on the Left? Libertarians are “easily the most extremist group” really? I know plenty of liberals who are more extreme than almost anyone on this board. Instead of worrying about libertarian extremism, how about worrying about liberal extremism? Only other liberals can police that.

    4. Re: MNG,

      Don’t look now but easily the most extreme group of folks I’m familiar with are libertarians.

      See??? What did I say?

      “There’s more graft with the Status Quo. Any challenge to the Status Quo is a challenge to the rent-seekers and their income, which explains why such challenges are labeled as ‘extreme’ by the terminally hyperbolic.”

      Any time one mentions the moral truth that stealing is wrong, the rent-seeking pilferers will label one an “extremist.”

  24. Come on, let’s not play dumb. It’s possible that one party has become extremist while the other has moderated–both having been pulled in one direction. It’s extremely unlikely that both have become equally extreme in opposite directions.

    And when I say extreme, I don’t mean out of step with the mainstream but ultimately possibly on the right side of history. I mean garden variety right-wing extremism–nationalism, racial resentment, propaganda, the whole thing. It’s never been proved “right” and it’s never been good for any society. Just because the Republicans have gone off the deep end doesn’t mean we have to pretend the Democrats have too–they’re essentially centrist technocrats who would be conservatives in Europe. It’s a pity one of the major parties has become overtaken by radical dogmatism, but that’s their own fault and nobody else’s.

    1. Well said. It’s increasingly true that the GOP has become a genuinely conservative party, RINO’s not invited or allowed. In fact, RINO’s are hunted down and reviled among the faithful with regularity, today candidates like Perry who cannot be called not-conservative with a straight face can be rejected based on failure to conform on even one or two issues (immigration).

      Democrats have become the “not conservative” party, the party for everyone who can’t sit through FoxNews or Limbaugh for more than twenty minutes without shaking their heads.

      The “most liberal President evah” as many conservatives call Obama is called so for enacting a stimulus half full of tax cuts and an alternative to single payer straight from Heritage Foundation policy papers…We’ve become a two party system: conservatives and everyone else.

      1. And the Daily KOS crowd didn’t hunt down the blue dogs? How the hell can you call an administration that shoved a complete overall of the most contentious issue in society (health care) down the country’s throat without a single vote from the other side and over the objection of a large majority of the country not “extreme”?

        Jesus, is anything on your side ever extreme? Do people Maxine Walter and Henry Waxman count as centrists in your world? My God how can you be so completely lacking in self awareness?

        1. Arguably the most “extreme” Democrat is Bernie Sanders–he calls himself a socialist. But if you listen to what he advocates, it’s just getting the US up to the standards of other civilized countries with respect to healthcare and other things. It’s not radically undermining everything the country has built in favor of an untested theory.

          One of the more bizarre achievements of Republicans is getting people to think their plan to dismantle the state and lower taxes to near zero is something they’ve always been for, or something that’s been considered reasonable in the past. It’s not, it’s way, way out there. Tax rates were once 90% on corporations in this country and it was the conservatives who advocated to keep them that way, because they once believed we should pay for what we buy. Now that party is conservative only nominally–what are you trying to conserve if you’re trying to basically undermine everything we know works about civilization in favor of a radical laissez-faire utopian vision?

          1. The government was also smaller than PBS is now up until about 1929. And Sanders believes in transforming the country, not just the government, into something it currently is not. If that is not “extreme” nothing is.

            Tony you are a complete extremist. Nothing on your side is ever wrong. And no one but you and your ilk ever have a point. That is an extremist.

            1. I’ve never made that claim, though I’m accused of all sorts of things that would make me seem just as radical as libertarians. I don’t think “my” side is always right, I just think that your side is always wrong, except by sheer accident, because it believes that dinosaurs and humans coexisted, among other things.

              1. Tony you have never once admitted that anyone or anything with a “D” after it was ever wrong about anything or if they were weren’t justified by the evils of the other side.

                1. Fine, Ben Nelson was wrong to hold healthcare reform hostage and to sabotage the public option so he could get his state pork and please the insurance industry. Damn Democrats, I tell you.

              2. Uh, go to California. People on your side believe the Earth is a living being and that they’re going to reincarnate into a dog.

                1. Bernie Sanders is a prick with power. Thankfully, he is one of a mere handful on that end of the Team spectrum.

          2. EUROPE IS DOING IT SO WE HAVE TO DO IT BECAUSE EUROPE IS AWESOME AND CIVILIZED AND A TOTAL UTOPIA WHERE THE FEW PROBLEMS THEY HAVE ARE ALL BUSH’S FAULT.

          3. “Tax rates were once 90% on corporations in this country”

            Wrong you asshole. No effective tax rate has EVER exceeded 40%.

            Read a fucking book.

          4. “getting people to think their plan to dismantle the state and lower taxes to near zero”

            HAHAHAHAHAH!!!

          5. “It’s not radically undermining everything the country has built in favor of an untested theory.”

            You are correct. Sanders wants to radically undermine everthing the country was built on in favor of a failed theory. Sorry, this country was set up as a refuge from the horrible political and economic theories of the rest of the”civilized” world.

      2. Well, dogmatic groups need an enemy, and it’s hard to be afraid of centrist technocrats. I just find it fascinating that a quasi-anarchic movement has convinced itself that it is just taking its place in the fine tradition of American conservative politics. I guess it’s even more fascinating that elements of the business sector have latched onto it, I guess hoping it can get the business-friendly elements of quasi-anarchism without the business-averse ones out of the deal. Does make you question the storied rationalism of capitalists though.

        1. Nope. Half the Democratic party self identifies as “Socialist”. That’s not a centrist technocrat.

    2. Re: Vile sockpuppet,

      And when I say extreme, I don’t mean out of step with the mainstream but ultimately possibly on the right side [???] of history.

      How quaint – the sockpuppet brings back Marxianism. Who woulda thunk it???

    3. “Come on, let’s not play dumb.”

      Uh, you don’t have to play.

      Anyway, pretending to be moderates is the strategy of choice for Socialist incrementalists that dominate the Democratic party. The right is just waking up to the idea that abject defiance is the only way to combat that approach.

      That explains the entirety of the polity today.

      1. +1

        1. +2

  25. I’d be willing to let Andrew Jackson go another few terms. Think about it, all those bills just piling up in front of the dead guy, not being signed or vetoed, no spending being authorized, no new drug czar being appointed, no re-authorization of DHS or TSA. Eventually people would just have to say fuck it and figure out some ground-up or state-specific solutions to crime, air traffic control, the interstates, and everything. The boondoggles of government would be at worst 1/50th the size of the current ones, and California would be free to spend itself into oblivion without the political pull to basically force the rest of us to bail it out. It would be…not utopian, but better.

    1. And the great thing is, he’s been dead so long that visitors to the White House probably wouldn’t even notice much of a stench.

  26. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  27. It’s telling at Goldwater was the one to have the famous quote about extremism. Here’s a guy who, by all accounts, was no racist but who because of a myopic focus on abstract and marginal liberty values became a hero to racists who flocked to his campaign when he turned a deaf ear to the plight of hundreds of thousands of suffering blacks who were asking for an end to discrimination in public accomodations.

    The inability to allow the real world and longstanding suffering that actual people were facing due to discrimination in public accomodations* to outweigh an abstractly philosophical dedication to a marginal aspect of liberty was the man’s tragic failing imo.

    * Many forget that blacks repeatedly said that this was causing them great harm; it was in much testimony in Congress when considering the CRA and included in MLK’s I have a dream act as cheif complaints for example.

    1. You are really on the stupid meds this afternoon. Here is what Goldwater said

      “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

      How exactly is that not true? The only way to take issue with it is if you believe that if defending liberty or pursuing justice is hard and takes extreme measures, it is not worth doing. Do you think that is true? I don’t.

    2. … to outweigh an abstractly philosophical dedication to a marginal aspect of liberty was the man’s tragic failing imo.

      Hey MNG. Please define the “marginal aspect of liberty” that you referenced. Please be concise.

      1. It means the government allowing you to do just a little more that you want at the price of giving up its ability to control you. MNG pays lip service to liberty but when it comes to a specific instance, liberty is always the thing that needs to be sacrificed for the collective.

        1. “MNG pays lip service to liberty”

          Yeah, it’s how the statists play good cop bad cop.

  28. I can see how somebody who says, “I’m going to take over the government and LEAVE YOU ALONE!” could be perceived as a threat.

    1. [Runs away, screaming.]

    2. Or “extreme”? Short of surrendering to the infidels, what exactly would Libertarians do that would hurt anyone or couldn’t be undone if it didn’t work?

  29. MNG, it wasn’t Greyhound that didn’t accommodate; it was the local po-po, the state 5-O, the guvnah, public sector institutions and the craven, bullied portions of the private sector.

  30. How is that not true? I explained that in my post. Extremism in the pursuit of any single value creates a myopia that ignores the importance of other sometimes countervailing values. In Goldwater’s case I explained how that led him to take a tragic position.

    1. So you think liberty and justice are just like any other values? Like pursuing a balanced budget or a fair tax system?

      The fact that you think they are, says pretty much all we need to know about whether you are an extremist.

      1. I think you can assume everyone here is for justice and liberty. The important thing is how you define those things in public policy.

        1. No the question is how much do you value those things and what sacrifices are you willing to make to achieve them.

          1. Not a cent in tax dollars, I gather.

            1. Hey, that was MY line.

        2. “I think you can assume everyone here is for justice and liberty. The important thing is how you define those things in public policy.”

          Nope. You’re an egalitarian, an approach which is often directly at odds with liberty.

  31. LM-that is a silly libertarian myth. Plenty of private companies discriminated without having to legally, check out Woolsworth (remember hte sitins?).

    1. And plenty of them didn’t. And even if they did, so fucking what? That was over fifty years ago. Society is completely different now. You arguing for those measures today is the equivalent of someone in 1910 arguing for the reoccupation of the South.

    2. Re: MNG,

      that is a silly libertarian myth. Plenty of private companies discriminated without having to legally, check out Woolsworth[.]

      Why does it matter, in the first place? The discussion is meaningless – you can’t make people like each other by force, nor are people entitled to a job or a house or anything else just because they happen to be “part” of a totally arbitrary demographic.

    3. The bus lines in the South used to be run by private companies. Blacks made up the majority of mass transit customers, but were obviously not a majority of voters. So when private companies ran the bus lines they treated their customers well. When the state took over the bus routes they segregated them in response to the will of the majority of voters, and not the majority of actual users of the bus system. The bus companies filed suit against the state government for the laws requiring segregation, but lost.

      But remember kids, the government protects us against private sector racism.

  32. Can’t you see? By asserting that *everyone* should be free, you are infringing on the right of your betters to take away your freedom!

    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

  33. The important thing is how you define those things in public policy.

    This can only end in tears.

    1. Hitler had public policies, too.

  34. they value liberty so greatly that it quickly outweighs any other value in any debate.

    I can see how this would horrify somebody like you.

    “What’s the point of having a government if we can’t force people to conform to our way of thinking?”

  35. “So you think liberty and justice are just like any other values? Like pursuing a balanced budget or a fair tax system?’

    John, you’re spectacularly stupid and unprincipled in your base partisanship, I’m not going to waste time today demonstrating that. You’re missing the argument completely, which is that liberty is a valuable thing, but so is justice, so is welfare, so is security, so is dignity. For most people these values will at times find themselves in conflict. Sometimes they will pick one over the other (depsite your constant working of the ref consider all the issue where I oppose government intervention: drugs, prostitution, gambling, most search and seizures, etc. etc., I even support many Republicans and even conservatives, how many liberals do you support?). But libertarians pick liberty, and so so easily and quickly, on nearly every one.

    That is extremism.

    1. Again, your side thinks liberty takes a back seat to every other value. But we are the extremists. And I am a partisan but you say without any irony that libertarians are by far the most extremist people you know as if no one on the left is ever extreme.

      Do you even listen to yourself? Do you know how ridiculous you sound? They are laughing you off the board.

      1. For the “left” to be equivalent of the right in this country, they’d have to advocate full-throated support of Marxism and the Democrats would have to genuflect to every demand of the Marxists. That doesn’t happen. You’d be hard pressed to find a communist out in the streets, let alone in the political class.

        In fact “liberals” have to be the conservatives nowadays–they carry the burden of environmentalism, the social safety net, and maintaining the country as we know it. Think about it. Which is the conservative position: saying we should maintain the atmosphere as the planet as we know it, or radically altering its chemical makeup unchecked? Anyone who advocates the latter is the true radical.

        1. Re: Tony,

          You’d be hard pressed to find a communist out in the streets, let alone in the political class.

          Did you rang?

          1. I think Elizabeth Warren is right behind you.

          2. Nope, try again.

            1. The fact that you don’t think Warren and Jones are extremist says that there is no one on the Left you would consider extremist.

              1. The other reason is that he’s a dishonest and disingenuous bastard.

              2. No, the fact that you think they’re extremists says that you watch too much FOX News.

                1. No, it’s because they’re extremists you dumbfuck.

        2. “For the “left” to be equivalent of the right in this country, they’d have to advocate full-throated support of Marxism”

          No, Anarcho-capitalism is the right-wing equivalent of Marxism, dipshit, and there are FAR more Marxists on the left than Anarcho-capitalists on the right.

          1. It doesn’t have to be “full-throated” when it’s done piecemeal over a span of decades.

            Add in schmucks like Michael Moore and other socialist pricks stirring the pudding, and eventually we’ll see gangs of whipped-up frenzied liberals with pitchforks and torches storming the gated communities – taking care to avoid the ones owned by people like Michael Moore – and they’ll be more than happy to engage in violence because Evil Rich People aren’t paying 5.6 cents more on the dollar.

            Ask people who used to live under Soviet rule, how well that worked out.

        3. “For the “left” to be equivalent of the right in this country, they’d have to ADMIT TO ADVOCATING full-throated support of Marxism and the Democrats would have to genuflect to every demand of the Marxists. That doesn’t happen. You’d be hard pressed to find AN ADMITTED communist out in the streets, let alone in the political class.”

          FIFY. They’ve learned that they have to implement their plans slowly, one step at a time, so slowly that hardly anyone notices.

    2. Re: MNG,

      You’re missing the argument completely, which is that liberty is a valuable thing, but so is justice, so is welfare, so is security, so is dignity.

      So is equivocating with glee. The other concepts do not limit the first one. You can’t have my liberty because you believe it will bring you dignity or welfare – I’ll KILL you first. How about that?

      1. Sounds practical and reasonable.

        1. Re: Stoopid clueless sockpuppet.

          Sounds practical and reasonable.

          It is – just ask the Continentals, you ignorant piece of crap.

    3. “John, you’re spectacularly stupid and unprincipled in your base partisanship”

      Oh, yeah, he needs to be a fake centrist like yourself who always happens to takes up a position on the left, even when it was the same position you denounced the day before as too far left so you could maintain your phony centrism.

  36. Extremism is a meaningless charge one offers when one is stymied or too lazy to offer a substantive rebuttal.

  37. I can remember thinking Clinton was the anti-Christ.

    What I wouldn’t give to have Clinton in the White House right now.

    So either Clinton was worse than I remember, or Obama REALLY IS more extreme than any Democrat in recent history.

  38. Your essay is good, I like it very much. Here I would like to share with you some things :
    Cheap UGG Boots http://www.classicuggs-uk.com —- ercai

  39. I liked the ending a lot; a necessary comment 🙂

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.