Libertarianism

Mediaite Scribe: Libertarians Are Not Nuts, Except in Bill Maher's Head

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Mediaite.com

Over at Mediaite, Andrew Kirell responds to Bill Maher's recent broadside against libertarians on his eponymous HBO show. A while back, Maher said,

Libertarians have to stop ruining libertarianism! Or at least do a better job of explaining the difference between today's libertarian and just being a selfish prick.

Read and watch the whole bit here. Maher has called himself libertarian in the past and his preferences on many issues line up with those of most libertarians. In a previous post, I suggested that whether you think Maher is accurate or not about the contemporary libertarian scene, it's worth figuring out why liberals and conservatives—who often agree with much in the libertarian set of concerns—have such skewed opinions of the broader movement toward what Reason characterizes as "Free Minds and Free Markets."

Kirell does a comprehensive job of fisking Maher's complaint while acknowledging that yes, there are some nuts in the larger pie. He points out that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), one of Maher's main targets, is not libertarian and that libertarians at Reason and elsewhere have panned his support for war, Medicare expansion, and TARP, and have dissed his budgets for increasing spending. Kirell ends with this extended tour of the current libertarian movement that should especially give liberal critics pause when they try to equate libertarianism with contempt for the wretched of the earth:

You can't truly have a conversation about today's libertarian movement without mentioning Reason....Led by [Nick] Gillespie (once a guest of Maher's) and Matt Welch, the largest libertarian publication regularly churns out devastating critiques of police abuse, exposes the horrific injustices from the War on Drugs, and repeatedly criticizes the foreign policy blunders ofboth Republicans and Democrats.

You also can't neglect the Institute for Justice, a non-profit law firm that fights on behalf of small business owners in impoverished communities who dare take on the behemoth local bureaucracies designed to keep them from pursuing their dreams. They even once battled Maher's nemesis Donald Trump when he tried to use the government to strong-arm an old woman into selling her home.

There are also writers like the Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf and civil libertarian Glenn Greenwald, both of whom cared about drone strikes long before the issue became a general talking point among the anti-Obama right; and long before Maher himself came around to his belated opposition to the warfare state.

Over at the Huffington Post, libertarian Radley Balko does more to fight the militarization of American police than any progressive writer on the same beat. His reporting pretty much single-handedly got a victim of the drug war off death row. Maher's contribution to the fight against prohibition? Having Zach Galifianakis smoke a "joint" on set.

Meanwhile, Fox News personalities John Stossel (disclosure: my former boss) and Judge Andrew Napolitano routinely eschew the conservative media narrative and fight for a variety of causes for which Maher also advocates.

There's also the indispensable Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank that regularly bucks both parties while receiving praise from progressives like Ezra Klein. While conservative organizations like Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute regularly change positions depending on who is in power (ahem, RomneyCare/ObamaCare?), Cato remains a principled advocate for reduced government in the boardroom and the bedroom.

Read the whole thing here.

Earlier this year, Reason TV interviewed Kirell and his Mediaite colleague Noah Rothman about their site. Watch that below.

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  1. Bill Maher is nothing more than Obama’s self-appointed Minister of Propaganda. The day I listen to anything Maher has to say you can light my funeral pyre and put me on it, dead or alive.

  2. Good, that is settled. Let’s make that LP Purity Test a little less strenuous so that more than .01% can pass it.

    1. Are you still sad that you can’t get about 25%?

      1. about above

        1. Why not save the Purity Test for candidates instead of supporters?

          1. Why constantly bitch about some mythical Purity Test?

            1. Because it gets people to respond to his horseshit, Sparky.

              1. He’s the smartest guy in the room, except when John is around. Then the two of them get to wrap their dicks around each other.

                1. No offense Sparky, but I didn’t need that image. 🙁

                2. Around each other’s bodies, or just an intertwining of the penises? Because the latter is a “barber pole.”

                  1. Around each other’s bodies, or just an intertwining of the penises?

                    Completely around. Unfortunately, they both have small dicks so they really just end up rolling around in frustration.

            2. You guys fall all over yourself demanding that Maher denounce his libertarian leanings but if Glenn Beck claims to be so its “Its OK. He is a Republican”.

              1. Who is this “you guys” you speak of?

                1. Who is this “you guys” you speak of?

                  The field of creepy looking straw men to which he addresses all his comments.

                  1. It’s not even a straw man, it’s just a fucking lie. Lots of folks here have bitched about Beck claiming libertarianism.

                2. Who is this “you guys” you speak of?

                  Hey you guys!

              2. You guys fall all over yourself demanding that Maher denounce his libertarian leanings but if Glenn Beck claims to be so its “Its OK. He is a Republican”.

                Your straw is wet.

              3. ???

                Seriously, have you never heard anyone get pissed off when Beck claims to be a libertarian? I sure as hell have (and have loudly bemoaned the fact as well)

              4. You’re the only one who ever brings up Beck. It’s almost as though you have….unresolved personal issues regarding Glenn??

            3. Why constantly bitch about some mythical Purity Test?

              Because shreeky got an “A” and he won’t shut up about it!

              PS- CHRISTFAG

              1. He’ll have you know that the PPT (Pluggertarian Purity Test) has very stringent standards, fish. Even He of The Receding Waters and Healing Planet only gets a 93%.

                1. To be fair, Becks’ rhetoric has moved TOWARD libertarianism, not away from it like Maher’s.

      2. Dude, just stop. Go cold turkey. It craves nothing more than responses. Its absence following that horrendous jobs report on Friday should be proof positive.

        1. +88,000 was weak, not horrendous. For the latter try the -750,000 months Obama walked into.

          1. Yeah, the shitty labor force participation rate is nothing to be concerned about at all!

    2. Palin’s Buttplug| 4.8.13 @ 8:04PM |#
      ?Bullshit. Obama is ardently pro-2A.?

      See there shitweasel, nothing you ever say again can restore even an iota of credibility. You are a lying sack of shit, just like Maher, who will say anything for your messiah. Get the fuck out of here and go back to sucking his cock.

  3. Nice pic of Welch and Breitbart. I always knew Matt looked a little light in the loafers (NTTAWWT). The question is, does his wife know?

    1. Matt’s not gay and neither is his boyfriend. Sheesh.

      1. It’s purely heterosexual man-love.

    2. I have a bigger problem with the alt-text.

      1. I read it as “talking about our look.”

    3. Welch’s apparent weight fluctuations concern me. And I say this as a friend. And by friend I mean random internet commenter.

    4. looks like they took that pic down pretty quick.

  4. There are also writers like the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf and civil libertarian Glenn Greenwald

    These guys are more of a stretch than Bill Maher and Paul Ryan.
    Hell, Sarah Palin is more “libertarian” than all 4 of them.

    1. Friedersdorf is a libertarian but he’s undercover about it.

      He does a great unparalleled job of making our positions sound sane to normal people.

      So don’t blow his cover…

      …or I’ll pull your dick off and use it to gouge out your eyeballs.

      1. If Friedersdorrf makes the cut so does shriek.

  5. it’s worth figuring out why liberals and conservatives – who often agree with much in the libertarian set of concerns

    Do they really though? I remember once reading that the pro-liberty positions of liberals and conservatives are actually only such by accident. The statist positions are on the issues they actually care about. Liberals want socialism, and conservatives want theocracy. Liberals don’t care about personal liberty, and conservatives don’t care about economic liberty, except that the other team has the opposite position and must therefore be opposed.

    1. conservatives want theocracy

      Cite?

        1. Not all conservatives are religious or even believe in a deity for that matter.

      1. Do not respond to the pathetic troll. It only craves responses. Its absence since Friday should be proof positive.

      2. Christian Taliban! Conservatives would make atheism a capital offense, along with abortion and being gay! They want the president to be the head of the National Church! They want all laws to conform to the Bible! They’re no different than the Muslim Brotherhood except that their god has a different name!

        1. Alright sarc, I’ll admit that shit is pretty funny but you really shouldn’t bait the pathetic little troll like that. It’s almost mean.

          1. The saddest part is that the harder I try to be funny, the more I look like a sincere commenter on the average progressive soundboard.

            1. No shit. That is why I read some of the articles on some of the conservative sites, but never the comments. Half of them come off sounding like they are sitting at their computers alternating between typing and self-flagellating.

              By self flagellation I mean Opus Dei style, not in the fashion some here engage in. In other words with chains, not K-Y.

              Wait a minute…..I guess some here use both. Never mind.

            2. We are rapidly approaching a future in which satire is impossible.

        2. You left out “invade other countries and convert them to Xtianity”*

          * direct quote.

      3. I’ll just cite the careers of Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Roy Moore, for starters.

        1. And how successful they have been and how much power they wield? Failures in primaries, loses in elections and such?

          1. Calling these people nascent theocrats is way overselling it. They’re pandering, much like liberal pols do whilst pushing the Free Shit mantra.

  6. Can someone remind me why I should give a shit what that assclown thinks about anything?

    1. Same reason you should give a shit what Gillespie thinks.

        1. Exactly.

  7. Maher has called himself libertarian in the past and his preferences on many issues line up with those of most libertarians

    key part of that line is “his preferences” as if all that is required for you to support liberty is to apply it to things you like. No, no, and no. And perhaps enough of the self-congratulating to a staff which largely voted for Obama at least once, some no doubt twice, a man who is the antithesis of libertarian thought.

    For obvious reasons, freedom scares the political class and its dogwashers in the commentariat. And the concept of principled belief is among the rarest of commodities.

    1. Sadly, freedom does scare people. It requires them to think, mind their own business, prepare for the future, continuously challenge thier own assumptions about the world, and work for a living. This is why the siren song of totalitariansim in all its forms is so seductive.

    2. as if all that is required for you to support liberty is to apply it to things you like

      That’s the way most people do it. I’d bet that’s even the way you do it.

      And perhaps enough of the self-congratulating to a staff which largely voted for Obama at least once, some no doubt twice, a man who is the antithesis of libertarian thought.

      As opposed to John McCain or Mitt Romney for those that felt the need to vote for a major party. Those two are obvious bastions of libertarian thought.

      freedom scares the political class and its dogwashers in the commentariat

      Make sure you move out of your glass house before you start throwing stones.

      1. I’d bet that’s even the way you do it.
        ———

        and you would lose. But nice job dissecting a post to make it all about me rather than the subject.

        1. Do you support the right of gays to get married? Do you support the right of convicted felons to own guns? Do you support my right to kill someone?

          1. this is why you ought to pay attention at whom you’re taking shots. Always supported gay marriage, have no issue with convicts’ rights being restored after their time, and you have no right to kill anyone unless it’s self-defense.

            Thanks for playing. Have some lovely parting gifts and the home version of our game.

            1. this is why you ought to pay attention at whom you’re taking shots

              If you think I’m taking shots, it’s only because you haven’t been paying attention.

              Always supported gay marriage, have no issue with convicts’ rights being restored after their time

              Good and good.

              you have no right to kill anyone unless it’s self-defense

              So you’re not for liberty for things you don’t like, you’re for conditional liberty. Just like most other people. Get it?

              1. So you’re not for liberty for things you don’t like, you’re for conditional liberty

                and I said that where? Let’s see; that would be nowhere. There is no “right” to kill someone aside from self-defense, unless you believe that your liberty trumps someone else’s.

                If you have conjured up some mystical right to kill because it makes you feel better, I look forward to your persuasive argument.

                1. If you have conjured up some mystical right to kill because it makes you feel better, I look forward to your persuasive argument.

                  I have the right to kill someone because I have the ability to do it. It is a natural right that everyone is born with. Just like whomever I am trying to kill has the right to kill me first. My liberty doesn’t trump the other person’s, it equals the other person’s.

                  Rights don’t need to be defined by someone to exist. The right to kill someone doesn’t need to be written down. There are many laws that say I shouldn’t kill someone and detail the ways in which I’ll be punished if I do. The existence of those laws doesn’t remove my right to kill. Laws don’t remove rights.

                  1. Except that if something is a “right”, you shouldn’t violate it. And other people have a “right” to go about their day without being killed by you. To just go and kill them violates their rights. You don’t have a right to violate people’s rights. Your right to kill someone stops where someone else’s right to go unmolested begins, meaning that you don’t have a “right” to kill or otherwise coerce someone that hasn’t violated your rights.

                  2. I have the right to kill someone because I have the ability to do it.

                    seriously? No, sparky, you do not have the “right” to deprive someone else of life just because you can. And I have never seen anyone here try to make that case.

                    1. And I have never seen anyone here try to make that case.

                      What does that have to do with me? Isn’t it possible that I have different ideas than others here?

                      Except that if something is a “right”, you shouldn’t violate it.

                      There’s a difference between shouldn’t and can’t.

                      To just go and kill them violates their rights.

                      Correct. Every person has rights.

                      Your right to kill someone stops where someone else’s right to go unmolested begins, meaning that you don’t have a “right” to kill or otherwise coerce someone that hasn’t violated your rights.

                      I understand that, as a libertarian and likely follower of the NAP, that is your belief. Your belief doesn’t force me to hold the same belief.

                    2. Ok. You can believe otherwise, but then you’re not even referring to the same concept. Saying that wareagle acts the “same” as Maher when we’re talking about two different concepts doesn’t even make sense.

                    3. Saying that wareagle acts the “same” as Maher when we’re talking about two different concepts doesn’t even make sense.

                      They are different concepts to you, not to me.

                    4. No, it’s patently obvious that wareagle’s idea of “rights” is different from your idea of “rights”. That you don’t believe in ware’s concept doesn’t mean they’re the same concept. Saying two different formulations are the same is incorrect on it’s face.

                2. and I said that where? Let’s see; that would be nowhere.

                  Let me help you.

                  wareagle| 4.9.13 @ 8:32AM |#

                  key part of that line is “his preferences” as if all that is required for you to support liberty is to apply it to things you like. No, no, and no. And perhaps enough of the self-congratulating to a staff which largely voted for Obama at least once, some no doubt twice, a man who is the antithesis of libertarian thought.

                  1. the first part of what is bolded is my inference of what Maher believes – that he supports liberty when it is for something he likes. The second, the no-no-no is my disagreeing with him.

                    Maybe I explained that poorly. There are lots of things I may not like but that doesn’t meant I expect others to be forced to dislike them, too.

                  2. Sparky, he’s saying the bolded text is WRONG, not that it’s something he believes, i.e. that his support for liberty ISN’T conditional on it being something he likes.

                    1. that his support for liberty ISN’T conditional on it being something he likes.

                      Yeah, I understand that. And that’s why I had to show that wareagle does the same thing. He’s calling out Maher for doing something that he also does.

                    2. What? YOU DON’T HAVE A RIGHT TO VIOLATE SOMEONE’S RIGHTS, THAT IS A PART OF THE IDEA OF “RIGHTS”. You don’t have a “right” to coerce people, since the idea of “rights” is itself freedom FROM coercion, not the freedom TO coerce people. The moment you coerce someone else you’re violating their rights to be free from coercion, “your right to swing your fist ends where my jaw begins”.

                    3. The moment you coerce someone else you’re violating their rights to be free from coercion, “your right to swing your fist ends where my jaw begins”.

                      I don’t necessarily support or fully agree with the non-aggression principle.

                    4. Ok. But again, we’re now talking wareagle’s apple to your orange. Saying wareagle’s the same as Maher by your concept when trying to rebut wareagle’s assertion based on his concept doesn’t make sense.

                    5. And that’s why I had to show that wareagle does the same thing. He’s calling out Maher for doing something that he also does.

                      which you have not done because it was not there to be done. You are arguing for the sake of arguing because you are sure as hell not advancing a point.

                      The notion that someone does not support your effort to deprive another of liberty is nowhere near the same as not supporting liberty itself. But I look forward to others echoing your notion of a natural right to kill just because you can.

                    6. we’re now talking wareagle’s apple to your orange

                      which you have not done because it was not there to be done.

                      Wareagle’s point was that Maher doesn’t believe in liberty for things that Maher doesn’t like. That is wareagle’s viewpoint and he’s welcome to it.

                      To rebut that, I offered my viewpoint that wareagle does the same thing. Good?

                      The fact is, wareagle doesn’t know Maher’s inner motives any more than I know wareagle’s. To make a bold assertion that you know why someone does what they do is just plain ridiculous. Follow?

                    7. Wareagle’s point was that Maher doesn’t believe in liberty for things that Maher doesn’t like. That is wareagle’s viewpoint and he’s welcome to it.

                      To rebut that, I offered my viewpoint that wareagle does the same thing. Good?

                      No, because wareagle’s point is that he doesn’t think that IS part of liberty. It’s not difficult to understand.

                    8. “Liberty” here doesn’t mean simply “freedom”, but rather the aspect of “freedom” that applies to morality. So you may be “free” to kill someone, in the sense that it is something you’re capable of and not being physically restricted from doing, but you’re not at “liberty” to kill someone as it violates aspects of “freedom” relating to morality.

                      Likewise, a tree falling on you with no intention behind it (it wasn’t caused by someone) may violate your “freedom”, but it doesn’t violate your “liberty” because there wasn’t a thinking agent behind it.

                    9. “Liberty” here doesn’t mean simply “freedom”, but rather the aspect of “freedom” that applies to morality.

                      I’m not interested in playing your semantic games.

                    10. I’m not interested in playing your semantic games.

                      So you’re not interested in a discussion of what wareagle’s referring to in an argument about the idea he’s referring to? So you’re not interested in any discussion at all, just in “proving” he believes something he doesn’t. Glad you cleared that up for us.

                    11. So you’re not interested in a discussion of what wareagle’s referring to in an argument about the idea he’s referring to?

                      I guess it’s useless to continue this. You keep completely missing my point. It’s fine, maybe we’ll get another chance on a different topic.

                    12. No, because wareagle’s point is that he doesn’t think that IS part of liberty. It’s not difficult to understand.

                      It’s not difficult you say, but apparently it is beyond you. My guess is that you don’t understand my position, and that is causing you some grief.

                    13. You obviously don’t understand wareagle’s position, and now you admit you don’t CARE to understand what his position is, since “he doesn’t believe that’s liberty” isn’t hard to understand when it’s thrown in your face. Have fun with yourself.

                    14. But I look forward to others echoing your notion of a natural right to kill just because you can.

                      So do I. I know they’re out there somewhere, but I’m sure we’re a very small minority.

                    15. Has anyone posted anything about troll free tuesday? Because Sparky always does this, goes out into this weird tangentalist universe.

                      Sparky, you seem to be equating ‘liberty’ with the idea if doing anything you want–if you can do it, you have the ‘right’ to do it.

                      And then you make this weird argument knowing full well that no one else is going to the bizarre extremes that you are.

                      For some reason, you include others as objects in your version of liberty. They are things that you can do something to rather than additional people with every ‘right’ you have.

                      You seem to not understand that your liberty extends to yourself, and the things you own, but not beyond that.

                      Or, you just troll out this useless line of debate whenever you get bored.

                    16. Or, you just troll out this useless line of debate whenever you get bored.

                      Sometimes I get the stupid idea in my head that there exists at Reason H&R a group of adults that might engage in a philosophical discussion. Every time it happens I’m proven wrong, but I still, once in a while, get the urge to try again.

      2. staff which largely voted for Obama at least once

        Bullshit.

        1. you must be new here. Or an idiot. Maybe both. More than one Reason employee went Obama.

          1. That’s a bogus meme. The majority of Reason staffers did not vote for Obama once, much less twice.

            1. so the once who supported Obama in ’08, and wrote about it here, lied to us? They sure as hell weren’t voting for McCain and it’s doubtful Bob Barr got them overly excited.

              1. “More than one” /=/ “majority”. No one has claimed none of the staffers voted Obama, simply that it wasn’t most of them. Which is true.

              2. You said the staff “largely” voted for Obama. Which is horseshit. “More than one” != “largely”

                1. it’s horseshit because you say so? Please. Several scribes have explained their votes; maybe we should do an accounting of who voted how. I stand by “largely” till the staff shows otherwise. You are disagreeing because you don’t like the possibility.

                  1. Dude, they did their accounting already. Most of them didn’t vote for Obama. I’m just not going to dig it out for you.

                  2. Here you go, idiot:

                    2012:

                    25 total Reasonoids

                    15 Gary Johnson (with 2 leaning)

                    8 nobody/not voting

                    2008:

                    18 total Reasonoids

                    7 nobody/not voting

                    5 Bob Barr (w/ 1 leaning)

                    3 Barack Obama

                    1 John McCain

                    1 anybody-but-McCain

                    1. You do realise that this list is largely irrelevent? That it’s an exercise in futility?

                      We don’t actually know who anyone voted for.

                      Given the observable migration of reason writers to openly leftist sites and magazines, it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that the staff might be more statist than they would say.

                      The repeated exhortations to reach out to leftists are also something that raises questions.

                    2. You do realise that this list is largely irrelevent? That it’s an exercise in futility?

                      We don’t actually know who anyone voted for.

                      So basically you’re just claiming they’re liars. I’m glad you can read minds.

                      Given the observable migration of reason writers to openly leftist sites and magazines, it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that the staff might be more statist than they would say.

                      Like that evul lefty Radley Balko! We can tell they’re not libertarians because non-libertarian publications are willing to hire them! I’m glad the publication someone writes for supercedes what they actually write, it’ll save a lot of thinking time.

                      The repeated exhortations to reach out to leftists are also something that raises questions.

                      Yes, as well as those questionable considerations of righties like Glenn Beck. Who needs persuasion and numbers!

  8. Bill Maher didn’t know the definition of libertarian when he claimed to be one, and he doesn’t know the definition now. It doesn’t really matter how he tries to define it on his show; his embarrassingly sheep-like audience would never accept the concept of individual liberty over state need no matter how well or badly it’s explained to them. Ignore him.

  9. You have got to admit, those guys make a LOT of sense man.

    http://www.SurfinPrivacy.tk

  10. Nick’s just angling for another ~1000 comment post.

    1. You only get one of those on an abortion thread.

      1. Please don’t mention that topic, or for that matter, illegal immigrants.

        1. Gay married illegals performing abortions with deep dish pizza while a bear watches through the scope of an assault weapon loaded with a clip of bullets.

          1. Stop or I’ll perform the summoning ritual to invoke Hercule.

            1. I’m going to assume that the summoning ritual is circumcision, since Sug left that out.

              1. Grah – you are too fast for me!

              2. He left out circumcision because it’s protected by copyright, as it should be, but only for 35.5 years.

          2. Are they typing their reports on terminals running emacs?

          3. Is the bear circumcised or not?

          4. Is the bear a TOS or STNG fan?

          5. I saw that on an episode of Star Trek Voyager once.

    2. That only happens on the weekends. Mourning and Evening Lynx soak up the comments on weekdays.

  11. it’s worth figuring out why liberals and conservatives – who often agree with much in the libertarian set of concerns – have such skewed opinions of the broader movement toward what Reason characterizes as “Free Minds and Free Markets.”

    ________

    Uh, because the more in common you have with an ideology, the more they will hate you because you’re obviously smart enough to accept some of their positions, so you must have nefarious motives for not going full TEAM.

    Plus there is the fact that on the congruent issues, we are much better then the members of the respective TEAMs. We are far more uncompromising on civil liberties, and this makes TEAM BLUE uncomfortable. We are far more free market and small government in a fiscal sense, and this makes TEAM RED uncomfortable.

    Plus we challenge the last 60 or 70 years of the bipartisan foreign policy consensus.

    1. Or, the problem is that they don’t have an ideology, at all, and are just completely freaked out by the idea that someone else does. That’s why they’re always saying ideology is automatically bad; you have to be “flexible” and “pragmatic” and things like that.

      1. Eh, I mean those in power I think are mostly venal, especially the moderate bloc. But I do think that those on both wings, people like Ron Wyden or Jim DeMint, genuinely believe in their ideology. I mean, if DeMint was power hungry he would never have resigned his Senate seat.

        But I was speaking more of the common people. I mean, it’s very disconcerting for a law and order Republican to discover that I, who is far more strident and forceful in my support of gun rights then most, is equally strident and forceful about ending the Drug War. Or for some hippie to discover the opposite.

    1. The camel’s demise marks the end of an eventful spell in the spotlight for the humped ungulate, which caused a din at its own presentation ceremony in Mali by screeching all the way through a thank-you speech by a local official to Hollande.

      That is a once-in-a-lifetime treat for some journalist to be able to write.

      1. What are you talking about? Friedman could just put a “North Korean saber rattling makes us think that” prefix and publish the entire paragraph verbatim.

        Oh you said journalist.

    2. The fuckers who ate the camel probably have no idea what they did wrong. They were given a camel. Everyone there knows you ride it, fuck it, or eat it.

      The concept of something in your possession belonging to someone else is incomprehensible.

      1. So, no “bailment” clause in their agreement, eh?

  12. Why does he have Rand Paul and Paul Ryan in that pic?

    Rand failed the Purity Test when he said he doesn’t favor redefining marriage, and Romney’s running mate is hardly a libertarian.

    1. No, they actually got elected to office. Obviously they’re not.

      1. Yep. Nick gives the game away when he mentions not ever changing political positions.

        Libertarians ipso facto suck at politics. Wielding real power is not a libertarian forte.

        1. Libertarians will never get anywhere in politics because people who just want the government to leave people alone tend not to seek out the power to meddle into everyone’s business.

          1. You speak a truth probably.

  13. As a general matter, what is so hard about just saying “I agree with some libertarian [or whatever] positions and disagree with others”?

    1. Most people desperately want to belong to a club, be part of a team. They need a label.

      Sometimes they get uncomfortable because deep down they know something is wrong, so they look around for a new label and latch onto Libertarian. Libertarians say some cool stuff, so they want to be one.

      Libertarianism isnt a club. It isnt a team. It is a set of principles adhered to by a loosely knit bunch of people who disagree on almost everything except that they all have the right to disagree.

      As soon as the sheep figure this out they go back to the fold.

      1. That’s what I don’t like about the Libertarian Party – their leadership doesn’t tell me what I am supposed to think and feel and say and do on any particular issue. It’s as if they expect me to think for myself. Lazy bastards.

        1. Kneel before Zod!

          1. But only if you want to.

  14. Ok, sure – Libertarian are in Bill Maher’s head…

    But Bill Maher’s an complete asshole in EVERYONE’S head.

  15. Liberalism isn’t so bad except for the liberals. Conservatism isn’t so bad except for the conservatives. Feminism isn’t so bad except for the feminist.I could go on all day.

  16. I started coming here more regularly since the gun control thing came up. I’m not in any danger of turning into another Neal Boortz, by any stretch, but I do like the irreverent bunch here in the Reason commentariat, and it’s much more preferable to the statist authoritarians who dare call themselves “liberal,” at certain other sites.

    I don’t watch Bill Maher because I don’t have HBO, or even watch much TV at all, so I’m no more interested in his show than cable news. Sure, I took the leisure time I’m afforded to read the article and comment here, but I can at least do that without a total assault on my senses. I also never would have read the linked story at Mediaite, because that’s such a stupid name for a site that I don’t even want it in my URL history.

    1. You don’t enjoy the feel of that vowel-on-vowel action rolling over your tongue?

  17. Drop the economic stuff–you’re wrong empirically and morally. Drop the certitude and self-righteousness. Your political beliefs don’t get a head start over everyone else’s just because you say so. Almost all of you believe in some government role, so it’s a simple matter of what that role is. Your set of policy preferences may very well be in some kind of magical sweet spot for freedom, but they are not more justifiable based on first principles than those of anyone else who believes in a role for government in society. If taxes are evil theft, then they are evil theft when they’re paying for police as when they’re paying for healthcare. You should have to explain, using facts, why nonuniversal private healthcare is preferable. You don’t get to say “because freedom” in response to everything.

    Oh, most importantly of all, you cannot be a serious philosophy about anything if you are selective about believing in scientific facts. I’m sorry if you don’t like certain facts, but any legitimate political philosophy must take the actual world into account. If there is no way to square your policy preferences with a certain scientific reality, the problem is not with the science.

    Now that we have all that cleared up, we can use the normal democratic process to effect the changes we all care about.

    1. I’m pretty sure I have no idea what you are talking about or who you are talking to…? I imagine that “because freedom” is another way of saying “That is the initiation of force; to which I will forever be opposed.” The purpose of Government is liberty. Do you have a problem with that?

      1. Nope. I have a problem with people getting on a moral high horse because they only want government to do things that actually involve shooting people, while describing other social programs as unacceptable force.

        Government force is either OK or it isn’t. It’s not OK just because it happens to be for policies you want.

        1. Sex with women either is ok or it isn’t. Just because it happens to be rape this one time doesn’t mean it’s wrong. You accept sex with women on it’s face, so how can you disagree with it when it’s rape? Let’s just take a vote and we can decide to what degree we will allow women to resist our sexual advances.

          Yes folks. Tony is that fucking stupid. Why would any of you try to have a discussion with that level of sophistry. Counterfly is right.

          1. I happen to think sex with women is gross, but I’m not gonna say it’s always rape because I don’t like it.

            All I’m saying is defend your policy preferences on their merits and stop trying to award yourself rhetorical gold star stickers you didn’t earn. If you’re for taxation and government force for some things, that doesn’t mean you have to be for it for all things, but it does mean you can’t say you’re against a program only because it uses government force.

            1. “but it does mean you can’t say you’re against a program only because it uses government force.”

              That’s not what libertarians (except for anarchists, who your point doesn’t apply to) actually argue

    2. You don’t get to say “because freedom” in response to everything.

      Great — then you don’t get to say “because democracy” in response to everything.

      It is incredible that the people who insist on the “magical” nature of rights don’t apply the same analysis to democratic governance, which is in somewhere in the same realm as divine right of kings as a basis for sound policymaking.

      1. The only alternative to a democratic system is a tyrannical system. Libertarians seem to favor a tyranny of platitudes.

        1. Dude….Seriously “a tyranny of platitudes”. What is the difference between a platitude and a statement of principle? Do you have political principles? Would you care to share some platitudes of your own?
          Does the concept of constitutionally limited democracy mean anything to you? We get to elect citizens to office by majority vote but their power / sphere of authority is limited. We crazy libertarians imagine this is a very good way to reduce the chance of living under a tyrannical government.

        2. The only alternative to a democratic system is a tyrannical system.

          Two observations: 1) isn’t it amusing how the supposedly nuanced views of progressives/liberals so easily collapse into the false either/or, and 2) you just claimed that a democratic system cannot be tyrannical.

          But really, we don’t need proof of just how shallow and stupid the average (and I’m assuming you are at least average) progtard is.

  18. Hitchens flipping off Maher’s audience; by far the best moment on any Bill Maher show.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoclaTQWzvc

  19. it’s worth figuring out why liberals and conservatives – who often agree with much in the libertarian set of concerns – have such skewed opinions of the broader movement

    From what I can tell, they tend to think libertarians (or at least radical libertarians) are inconsistent. “Liberals” and “conservatives” have their own criteria that they think must be universal for arriving at conclusions. John Goodman thinks those criteria are sociologic rather than ideologic, but I’m not sure he’s right.

    Kirell does a comprehensive job of fisking

    As in fsck? Nick, maybe you can help me install the driver for a Realtek wireless USB adapter in a Linux 2.4some kernel.

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