Libertarianism

Conservative and Liberal Contradictions Revealed! (Veiled Subscription Pitch)

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Columnist Ron Hart writes of the contradictions in conservative responses to recent Supreme Court rulings:

I do not see how conservatives can rightfully vote to end the provisions of the Voting Rights Act that are so intrusive for Southern states, yet vote to increase federal authority over marriage under DOMA. Justices who voted to dismantle the silly enforcement mechanism of the Voting Rights Act said in their briefs that times had changed since the 1960s. They have also changed for gay marriage. Thirty percent of Americans approved a decade ago; more than 50 percent do now.

Read the whole thing.

In USA Today, Jonah Goldberg asks why "civil libertarians" are up in arms over NSA data-tracking but not-so-bent-out-of-shape by Obamacare databasing:

What I have a hard time understanding, however, is how one can get worked up into a near panic about an overreaching national security apparatus while also celebrating other government expansions into our lives, chief among them the hydrahead leviathan of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). The 2009 stimulus created a health database that will store all your health records. The Federal Data Services Hub will record everything bureaucrats deem useful, from your incarceration record and immigration status to whether or not you had an abortion or were treated for depression or erectile dysfunction….

Worrying about NSA abuse is cast as high-minded while worrying about ObamaCare or the IRS is seen as paranoid

Read the whole thing.

As it happens, the ACLU has been critical of the IRS's actions toward political groups and is outspoken in its opposition to the worker-verification database that conservatives present as central to any meaningful immigration reform. Goldberg is certainly right, though, that liberal outrage at massive governmental record-keeping is largely situational. Which is to say, liberal outrage is very similar to conservative outrage when it comes to matters of government.

If you prize a consistent emphasis on limited government and individual rights in your ideology, this seems like a good time to pitch a subscription to Reason. It costs just $14.97 a year and, as our very first issue in 1968 declared, we try to emphasize "coherence, not contradictions."

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  1. Jesse Ventura 2016 (as Captain Freedom).

    1. VP – Jimmy “The Rent Is Too Damned High” McMillan (as Corporal Oddball)

  2. “civil libertarians”

    That term, I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    Is it purist to think that possessing an anti-war or pro-minority rights attitude does not make one a civil libertarian? Because, to my mind, domestic programs and imperialism are inextricably tied. Support for one is indistinguishable from support for both, since both afford leviathan the legitimacy and the precedence necessary to exercise absolute power. At the very least, the tradeoffs partisan politicians are willing to make to logroll their favored programs bloodies both sets of hands.

    1. Actually, at the very least it means that voters determine the justice of wars on the basis of TEAM preferences. Obama’s wars are just, Bush’s weren’t, or vice-versa. We can trust one set of sociopaths to dronemurder foreigners but not the other set.

    2. That was what I saw as Goldberg’s error as well: liberals are not civil libertarians.

  3. Could it be that conservatives don’t view gay marriage as a fundamental right but view state control of elections as something that is guaranteed by the Constitution?

    Nick doesn’t like the first position. But just because he doesn’t like it doesn’t necessarily make it contradictory to the second. That is as is becoming usual with Nick these days, a poor fucking effort. It is essentially the same tired argument that liberals make against libertarians about judicial activism just repackaged for gay marriage.

    In the same way that thinking the courts shouldn’t make up the law doesn’t prevent you from believing the courts should strike down unconstitutional laws, thinking the the Feds regulating federal benefits and recognition of something that you do not believe is a fundamental right, doesn’t mean you can’t support state sovereignty in other areas you think are appropriate. Maybe one or both of your arguments are wrong. But they are not contradictory and you are not a hypocrite for making them.

    1. If there’s one issue I would dronemurder from the national debate, this would be it.

      Actually, I take it back. I wish DOMA were the highest priority of the land because we’d already dispensed with the rest. And abortion, for that matter.

      1. DOMA may be terrible. And if Nick thinks that he should say way. But there are few sadder and more ineffective arguments than the old “you are just a hypocrite one”. No, Nick, they are not hypocrites. They just disagree with you.

        1. OK Red Shrike. They are hypocrites. They’re trying to appeal to some kind of procedural or constitutional point of order when the fact is they don’t like gay people and they don’t want more blacks voting democrat. Maybe it’s not “hypocrisy” so much as concealed motive, but either way, call it what it is.

          1. That is idiotic. Since when is state control of elections, you know something that is in the Constitution, pointing to a procedural or constitutional point?

            By that standard Libertarians are just pushing some procedural point about the 4th Amendment in objecting the NSA spying. Well, I guess they are. But one person’s procedural point is another person’s RULE OF LAW.

            The fact remains that DOMA has nothing to do with the voting rights act. And objection to one is not contradictory to supporting the other. To say they are is to say that anyone who objects to state supremacy on any issue is somehow precluded from supporting it on another. And that of course is just nonsense. States rights’ rule in some areas and don’t in others.

            Nick is making a terrible and stupid argument here. I don’t care what you think of Republican or Democrats, make valid criticisms. Don’t just make up shit and make obviously stupid arguments just so you can play pox on both houses. And that pretty much all Gillespie does these days. He seems incapable of thinking clearly and making good arguments.

    2. I’m not sure I’m following here, John.

      If conservatives don’t view marriage equality as a fundamental right, why do they support a prohibition on the federal government recognizing it, which was the point of DOMA? Shouldn’t the proper conservative and constitutional POV be basically what the court decided, which was that the feds should recognize marriages based on the appropriate state law? That would also be consistent with allowing the states to make voting decisions (unless there are clear violations under the Voting Rights Act).

      With regard to conservative hypocrisy, I was quoting Ron Hart, but I think the larger point of my post holds: Liberals and conservatives tend to be highly situational in their policy prescriptions.

      1. If conservatives don’t view marriage equality as a fundamental right, why do they support a prohibition on the federal government recognizing it,

        I am not following you. The point of DOMA is to not recognize gay marriage. It is to say that the states can do what they want but there is no recognition of it in federal law or other state laws if the states choose not to do so. That means conservatives view gay marriage as something that is not a right.

        Shouldn’t the proper conservative and constitutional POV be basically what the court decided, which was that the feds should recognize marriages based on the appropriate state law?

        Maybe but not necessarily. Another view is that the states get to decide what marriage is for their own courts but the feds and the other states are free to reject arrangements as against public policy. The power of the feds and the states to reject contracts and marriages that they find against public policy has been an exception to the full faith and credit clause since day one. As long as the policy doesn’t violate another right, states and the feds are free to set it.

        So, if you don’t, as many conservatives do, believe that gay marriage is a fundamental right, declaring it against public policy is perfectly consistent with conservative judicial philosophy.

      2. “Shouldn’t the proper conservative and constitutional POV be basically what the court decided, which was that the feds should recognize marriages based on the appropriate state law? That would also be consistent with allowing the states to make voting decisions (unless there are clear violations under the Voting Rights Act).”

        You’re defending an opinion the Supreme Court didn’t actually issue.

        The Court included language in its opinion which would allow it, in a future case, to impose gay marriage (in whole or in part) on the states. Their federalist rhetoric is strictly for the rubes. If they hold back from such a radical step, it will simply be from fear of a Roe-style backlash, not from principle.

        If the court were so hot for having the feds recognize marriages blessed by the states, why did they go out of their way to affirm the constitutionality of federal immigration laws, which can keep an American citizen’s foreign spouse out of the country despite the marriage being valid under state law?

        Conservatives may be hidebound and reactionary, but they’re not idiots. They aren’t going to be fooled by taunts about “lol we thought you believed in federalism lol!” (Rand Paul is one exception – he simply assumed that the Court shared his federalist preferences).

    3. Ultimately it seems to me that the RESULT of the DOMA case is more or less correct. The major issue I have with it is that it should never have been decided by the court with this case.

      The lower courts ruled in favor of the complainant, and the government refused to push it any further. There was no complaint left to resolve, and the SCOTUS’ job isn’t simply to opine on law, but to settle disputes. In this case there was no longer a dispute. The court was hijacked, and that they heard the case at all reeks of the worst kind of judicial activism.

      In short, they should have waited for a better case.

  4. What I have a hard time understanding, however, is how one can get worked up into a near panic about an overreaching national security apparatus while also celebrating other government expansions into our lives, chief among them the hydrahead leviathan of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare).

    Being a republican, Jonnah, naturally you have a hard time grasping the easily assailable truth of why this is not contradictory. The simple fact of the matter is millions of progressives were agents of Communist governments over the past several generations and they would prefer that fact not to be revealed through data sorting, and for the same reason they were agents of communist governments they want to see our healthcare nationalized. No contradiction!

    1. I don’t think it was millions. Thousands probably and certainly a whole lot of journalists and academics. But I don’t think your typical prog was actually working for the communists. Someone has to play the role of useful idiot.

      1. Perhaps it is more accurate to say millions of progressives would prefer that thousands of their fellow travelers, like, for instance, I F Stone, who were on the Soviet dole, not be revealed to be agents. It could be massively embarrassing, as those that were on the dole, tended to have the most influential plumb positions in media, government and academia.

        It is unbelievable that those so focused on principals would be concerned for civil liberties out of principle. There has to be other motives.

        1. They followed Obama to the gates of Hell. And when they got there, they recognized some of the inmates.

        2. But hasn’t that already been revealed? And the progs just ignore it and pretend it doesn’t exist. Everyone knows IF Stone was on the KGB payroll. But they just act like that didn’t happen.

          1. Well, Jonah (sorry for the misspell above G) was accusing them of being contradictory. That is absurd. That never happens with progs who always serve an underlying motivation with efficient cause. If not communist agents, there is another set of principals (and not principles!) there that remain hidden to the rest of us.

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