Leftwing Pitchforkers: Kill the Limited Government Monsters!

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Kill the limited government monsters!

I am awed by the way that Blue and Red Team members fall into lockstep whenever a new political or ideological demon has been identified by their "intellectual" elites. For example, Team Blue has been using the Trayvon Martin shooting as an excuse to go after the limited-government think tank, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on the grounds that it promoted "stand your ground" self-defense legislation. (See my colleague Jacob Sullum's trenchant analysis of the actual relevance of such laws in this situation.) 

While that may be ALEC's latest "sin," its biggest one is advocating free markets and limited government. A lot of Team Blue members seem to really believe that the people who disagree with them must be paid, witting agents of secretive evil task masters who scheme to enrich themselves by oppressing the poor. Talk about brain-addled conspiracy theorists!

Instead positing Bilderbergeresque cabals, the Left should, as social psychologist Jonathan Haidt suggests, "Forget the money, follow the sacredness." Values matter more than money. Unfortunately, the morally stunted Left is incapable of understanding that and so conjures up "vast rightwing conspiracies."

In a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal about the relentless Team Blue crusade against "market voices," Fred Smith, head of the libertarian think tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, warns:

The attack on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is part of a broader attack by those seeking to drive all market voices from the marketplace of ideas. ("Shutting Down ALEC," Review & Outlook, April 18). As the Founders realized, "factions"—what we now call "special interests"—are an unavoidable aspect of democracy. The Founders' solution was not to suppress factions, but to "set faction against faction" to ensure vigorous debate. The attack on ALEC runs counter to that spirit. It is a concerted effort to silence one faction by driving productive economic voices from the policy debate.

When businesses seek to expose and reduce the harmful consequences of capricious legislation, that is both their right and good for democracy. When market voices are excluded from the policy debate, the only voices left are those motivated purely by ideology. And as history shows, the greatest harm to nations comes from ideologues who believe they know what's best for everybody.

Our Founders gave us a system based on the battle of ideas. If critics of the free market believe they have a strong case, they should seek to win that battle openly, rather than by silencing the opposition through intimidation. What ALEC's opponents seek is nothing less than the sabotage of democracy. It is especially unfortunate when businesses retreat from backing free-market groups like ALEC when they come under pressure. America needs more CEOs willing to stand up for free enterprise. Readers who agree should let those CEOs know now.

In an email, Smith notes…

…there are only three sources of financial support for anything:  Stolen money (government),  Dead money (foundations) and Live Money (firms and individuals).  All are useful but very different.

He asks why should anyone be nervous about "Live Money" participating in public debates? As Smith correctly points out:

After all, bureaucrats and foundation managers have goals too – are these more moral?

The Left may buy (or not) products from whomever they wish for whatever reasons. However, the pitchfork-wielding Left apparently believes it can win policy debates in America only if it shouts down and shuts up advocates of free markets and limited government (and their financial supporters) who oppose the authoritarian egalitarianism Team Blue stands for. 

See also my column, Everyone Who Agrees With Me Knows What They Are Talking About, for reporting on some of the research dealing with the pervasive problem of confirmation bias. 

Disclosure: I think that I am still an adjunct fellow at CEI and I had lunch with Fred and Fran last week. FWIW, I paid my part of the tab.  

NEXT: John Stossel on the Food Police

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  1. A lot of Team Blue members seem to really believe that the people who disagree with them must be paid, witting agents of secretive evil task masters who scheme to enrich themselves by oppressing the poor.

    Unfortunately it’s true! I have to don my Top Hat and monocle and go beat my inferiors with my diamond encrusted cane!

    I’m off then.

    1. ANd then they call us the conspiracy theorists….

    2. You don’t hire someone to do the beating for you?

      1. Even the obscenely wealthy like me like to mix with the commoners on occasion.

  2. I am awed by the way that Blue and Red Team members fall into lockstep whenever a new political or ideological demon has been identified by their “intellectual” elites.

    Still, Ron? The sheep go where they are led. Always. And they love nothing more than a new scapegoat/demon to hate on. After all, isn’t hating what it’s all about? Hating gives them a purpose, an enemy. In their utterly empty lives, that means a lot.

      1. Team ‘Bate?

        1. Go away! ‘Batin’!

        2. They see me foldin’, they ‘batin.

    1. You don’t win hearts and minds with logic and reason, for that you need fear and hatred.

  3. In reading online comments in general, I have come to two conclusions.
    1) MoveOut.org and ThinkSoros must be paying an army of trolls to repeat
    their nonsense, because no one could be that stupid. 2) Frothing-at-the-mouth right-wing
    commenters are real, because they are that stupid.

    1. You never have to pay someone to say something stupid.

      1. And, being stupid, they won’t hold out for the best offer, they just give the stupid away for free.

  4. I support small governments and am pro markets, those rich billionaires have forgotten to pay me though for doing their bidding, hey rich billionaires where is my money ?

    1. I know right? I’ve been advocating free markets for years and I’m still waiting for a check from the Koch Foundation.

    2. The first rule of Freedom Club is that nobody talks about Freedom Club.

      I’ll see what I can do about your payments, but you have to keep it on the DL so our little T o n y doesn’t catch on.

      1. Or just start marketing the Freedom Club soap, with the secret ingredients.

    3. No, see, that just proves how much of a dupe you are. As far as I can tell, progressives believe there are two types of people who disagree with them: people who are evil and profit from advocating non-progressive views (which they know are wrong), and people who are stupid and believe the blatant lies spouted by the first group.

      So see, you’re just a dupe! And not only that, but you’re a dupe who saves those wicked billionaires money by advocating for them without being paid!

  5. FWIW, I paid my part of the tab.

    The good folks at Reason are obviously paying you too much.

  6. “After all, bureaucrats and foundation managers have goals too – are these more moral?”

    Yes, because they’re surrounded by force-fields that block the pernicious effects of the laws of economics.

  7. A lot of Team Blue members seem to really believe that the people who disagree with them must be paid, witting agents of secretive evil task masters who scheme to enrich themselves by oppressing the poor.

    I’ve been involved in debates over development where I live, and instead of trying to prove me wrong, some people just say, “You must be related to a developer.”

    1. You must be related to a developer.

    2. Oh for fuck’s sake, the big developers love big government. It’s the cozy relationship between the two that creates theses public/private partnership travesties where the localities issue bonds to cover costs that the developer should have to absorb.

      1. of course, developers are in bed with govt. Govt sets zoning rules that developers have to work under. At the same time, elected officials need campaign cash in order to be in position to enact said zoning rules. It’s probably a coincidence.

        1. “It’s not a coincidence! It’s a conspiracy! The government is in bed with the developers! That’s why we need more regulation!

    3. I think Epster was being a punk. Again. (Why I like you, Bro).

      Also, everyone is ultimately related to a developer, just not closely.

      1. Also, everyone is ultimately related to a developer, just not closely.

        Oh please spare me more of your Adam and Eve bullshit Tonio, keep it in church!!!

        1. There was an entertaining show on PBS, hosted by that jailbird and weak-beer-drinker Henry Louis Gates, about Kevin Bacon’s slaver ancestors…in which they discovered that he’s related to his wife.

          1. Who is related to who’s wife, exactly? Is Bacon related to Gates’ wife? To his own wife?

            TELL ME!

            1. Bacon is related to his own wife (Kyra Sedgwick). But it was something like 6 times removed.

              1. Sex just got a little hotter in one Hollywood couples household.

              2. Gives new meaning to the game 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.

          2. Huh. I always find that shit interesting, when they do genetic tests and find out Spike Lee is distantly related to some Klan member and shit like that.

            1. Gates has done some interesting shows about that sort of thing. He did one about some famous black people and now has one about some white people.
              I may be wrong on the details, but as I recall, Don Cheadle is descended from slave owning Indians and Skip Gates himself has more European genetics than African.

      2. Don’t project your sordid family history on me, Tonio. You may have a dirty, dirty developer in your family–and probably some Micks as well–but I don’t.

  8. A lot of Team Blue members seem to really believe that the people who disagree with them must be paid, witting agents of secretive evil task masters who scheme to enrich themselves by oppressing the poor.

    Unfortunately, the morally stunted Left is incapable of understanding that and so conjures up “vast rightwing conspiracies.”

    Must have been a nice, fat paycheck ALEC sent your way, eh Ron.

  9. If you try to explain constitutional republicanism to a progressive, whether it’s a genuinely well-meaning useful idiot or a malicious shitstick with an agenda, you get contemptuous stares and summary dismissal from their sphere of consideration.

    True civilization is a distinctly alien concept to these asswipes, because their solutions depend on hindering/removing their opposition through the power of law, made possible and enacted because DEMOCRASEE FUK YA.

    1. “You can’t honestly believe that!”

    2. True, because “fuck you, that’s why” is the norm for human power arrangements. Constitutional republicanism is a weird outlier that can only develop in unusual circumstances and can only survive if it’s constantly reinforced.

  10. A lot of Team Blue members seem to really believe that the people who disagree with them must be paid, witting agents of secretive evil task masters who scheme to enrich themselves by oppressing the poor.

    Anytime a right-wing nutjob or a communist occutard says something stupidly inflammatory to the press, the first words on everyone’s lips are, “False flag!!! False flag!!!”

  11. This is a good reason why we should have many different limited-govt promoting organizations, each restricting themselves to a subset of the issues, so it’s difficult for ad-hominem-peddlers to attack us on several issues at once using these tactics.

    The relationship between SYG and free markets is very tenuous. We shouldn’t have organizations promoting both, as it leaves them vulnerable to this sort of attack.

    1. We shouldn’t have organizations promoting both, as it leaves them vulnerable to this sort of attack.

      True. However, these organizations crave power too and single-issue organizations will have a tougher time controlling a party. A lot of right-wing think tanks say a lot of great stuff, but to the extent they want control over the Republican party they’re forever compromised.

  12. Team Blue members seem to really believe that the people who disagree with them must be paid, witting agents of secretive evil task masters

    …speaking of which, do you guys know if those check-cashing places are cool with processing Evil Taskmaster pay? I’m going to the annual conference in Barbados and need cash-on-hand for a new monacle.

    I have to don my Top Hat and monocle and go beat my inferiors with my diamond encrusted cane!

    tsk tsk tsk. Please! You’ll just soil your cane. Shoot them with compressed money from your balcony overlooking the ghetto!

    1. What? I shoot my money into the getto to watch them fight over the few scraps of paper.

    2. Have at least a time good enough for the rest of us to live vicariously through.

    3. To imply that I even have a residence near a ghetto is barely worthy of a response!

      1. Oh, don’t knock ghettos! They’re *extremely* convenient places to store your Diamond Mine workers, overchanging them on rent for a one-room hovel, just barely making ends meet… I like to wave to them from my helicopter as I fly in and out of my gated, guarded compound. I feel it gives them inspiration, that if they, too, work hard, and take every opportunity they’re offered, they can achieve great wealth and status as well.

        I find this delusion helps to get a least a dozen hours of unpaid overtime a week out of them.

    4. I would need a howitzer to hit the ghetto from my balcony… Maybe I’ll add it to my Christmas list…

  13. Team Blue members seem to really believe that the people who disagree with them must be paid, witting agents of secretive evil task masters

    I’ve always just chalked that one up to projection.

    1. Is projection the new denial or something?

  14. Sort of like when MSNBC announced that Romney’s “last major challenger”, Newt Gingrich had dropped out. Even though Ron Paul finished ahead of Gingrich in the majority of the states that have voted, raised more money, and had far more actual supporters.

    1. Newt won more states.

      1. Yeah, that whopping 2-0 lead made him a much more serious contender.

    2. Newt also had more delegates prior to party convention trickery.

      1. Reading the rules = Party convention trickery?

  15. What is the point of this statement?–

    I am awed by the way that Blue and Red Team members fall into lockstep whenever a new political or ideological demon has been identified by their “intellectual” elites.

    It must be important, it’s the first thing you said.

    And yet, there’s nothing about Team RED in this piece. Not a thing. The whole piece is about standard lefty behavior, standard lefty beliefs, and standard lefty actions.

    So why that first sentence?

    A quick jab at the right to keep those cocktails coming? A little bit of CYA to maintain your status as one of the cool kids?

    Why?

    1. Because the difference between Team Red and Team Blue is entirely semantic?

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