New York Times Magazine: "Has the 'Libertarian Moment' Finally Arrived?"


Straight outta Bowling Green! ||| New York Times Magazine
New York Times Magazine

The New York Times Magazine has just published a 6,600-word exploration of, essentially, whether, Nick Gillespie is right when he says "The libertarian moment is now." Writer Robert Draper, author of the terrific 1991 book Rolling Stone Magazine: An Uncensored History, and more recently When the Tea Party Came to Town, takes an entertaining tour through various antechambers of the libertarian movement, from Reason's gin-swilling D.C. headquarters, through the Free State Project's anarchic PorcFest, to the offices of Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), in search of ever-elusive answers about what these libertarians want, how/if they plan to use two-party system to get there, and whether 2016 will be the presidential cycle when the burgeoning libertarianism of the millennial generation will produce a political realignment.

You'll come for the Kennedy Ron Paul/Nirvana quote, stay for the Nick Gillespie/Lou Reed comparison, savor David Frum's delicious contempt, and be left rooting for a clarifying Rand Paul/Hillary Clinton showdown.

Here's how the piece begins:

Are she not men? |||

"Let's say Ron Paul is Nirvana," said Kennedy, the television personality and former MTV host, by way of explaining the sort of politician who excites libertarians like herself. "Like, the coolest, most amazing thing to come along in years, and the songs are nebulous but somehow meaningful, and the lead singer kills himself to preserve the band's legacy.

"Then Rand Paul — he's Pearl Jam. Comes from the same place, the songs are really catchy, can really pack the stadiums, though it's not quite Nirvana.

"Ted Cruz? He's Stone Temple Pilots. Tries really hard to sound like Pearl Jam, never gonna sound like Nirvana. Really good voice, great staying power — but the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts."

I met Kennedy (a gabby 41-year-old whose actual name is Lisa Kennedy Montgomery) in Midtown Manhattan at Fox News headquarters, where she hosts a Fox Business Network program called "The Independents." By cable TV standards, the show, which is shown four times a week, is jarringly nonpartisan, for the simple reason that she and her co-hosts — the Reason magazine editor in chief Matt Welch and the entrepreneur Kmele Foster — are openly contemptuous of both parties.

Here's a section exploring how, as the Reason/Rupe poll has indicated, millennials are philosophically and politically up for grabs:

Funny cuz it's true! |||

Meanwhile, the age group most responsible for delivering Obama his two terms may well become a political wild card over time, in large part because of its libertarian leanings. Raised on the ad hoc communalism of the Internet, disenchanted by the Iraq War, reflexively tolerant of other lifestyles, appalled by government intrusion into their private affairs and increasingly convinced that the Obama economy is rigged against them, the millennials can no longer be regarded as faithful Democrats — and a recent poll confirmed that fully half of voters between ages 18 and 29 are unwedded to either party. Obama has profoundly disappointed many of these voters by shying away from marijuana decriminalization, by leading from behind on same-sex marriage, by trumping the Bush administration on illegal-immigrant deportations and by expanding Bush's N.S.A. surveillance program. As one 30-year-old libertarian senior staff member on the Hill told me: "I think we expected this sort of thing from Bush. But Obama seemed to be hip and in touch with my generation, and then he goes and reads our emails."

Early polls show young voters favoring Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016, but their support could erode as they refamiliarize themselves with her, just as it did in 2008. Clinton has been even slower than Obama to embrace progressive social causes, while in foreign policy, she associates herself more with her former Senate colleague John McCain than with noninterventionists. Nor is Clinton likely to quell millennial fears about government surveillance. Welch says: "Hillary isn't going to be any good on these issues. She has an authoritative mind-set and has no interest in Edward Snowden, who's a hero to a lot of these people."

After eight years out of the White House, Republicans would seem well positioned to cast themselves as the fresh alternative, though perhaps only if the party first reappraises stances that young voters, in particular, regard as outdated. Emily Ekins, a pollster for the Reason Foundation, says: "Unlike with previous generations, we're seeing a newer dimension emerge where they agree with Democrats on social issues, and on economic issues lean more to the right. It's possible that Democrats will have to shift to the right on economic issues. But the Republicans will definitely have to move to the left on social issues. They just don't have the numbers otherwise."

More excerpts after the jump. Later this morning, I'll put up a blog post with some supplemental reading material from the Reason archive.

Here is the best known rendering of TV Editor Nick Gillespie:

Sympathy for the Devil's Advocate. |||

Gillespie poured me a glass and led me to a sitting area beside his office, which is festooned with vintage rock posters. Nick Gillespie is to libertarianism what Lou Reed is to rock 'n' roll, the quintessence of its outlaw spirit. He is 50, a former writer for teen and heavy-metal magazines, habitually garbed in black from head to toe, wry and mournful in expression, a tormented romantic who quotes Jack Kerouac. For the past 20 years, Gillespie has been a writer, editor and intellectual godfather for Reason, the movement's leading journal since its founding in 1968 (and which today has a circulation of about 50,000, while its website receives 3.3 million visits a month). […]

"I was never conservative," he told me as we sipped our gin. "Republicans always saw libertarians as nice to have around in case they wanted to score some weed, and we always knew where there was a party. And for a while it made sense to bunk up with them. But after a while, it would be like, 'So if we agree on limited government, how about opening the borders?' No, that's crazy. 'How about legalizing drugs? How about giving gays equal rights?' No, come on, be serious. And so I thought, There's nothing in this for me."

Gillespie likes to point out that unlike the words "Democrat" and "Republican," "libertarian" should be seen as a modifier rather than a noun — an attitude, not a fixed object. A cynic might assert that this is exactly the kind of semantic cop-out that relegates Gillespie's too-cool-for-school sect to the margins. Not surprisingly, he begged to differ. "It's wedded to an epistemological humility," he told me, "that proceeds from the assumption that we don't know as much as we think we do, and so you have to be really cautious about policies that seek to completely reshape the world. It's better to run trials and experiments, as John Stuart Mill talked about. The whole point of America — and this is an admixture of Saul Bellow and Heidegger and Jim Morrison lyrics — is that it's in a constant state of becoming, constantly changing and mongrelizing. We're doing exactly what free minds and free markets allow you to do. Part of why I'm a libertarian is that if you restrict people less, interesting stuff happens."

Continuing his riff with beatnik locomotion, he added: "It's like what happens in garages. Rock bands form in garages. Computer companies. And O.K., occasionally serial murders. But as long as you're not just parking your car there, garages are always interesting."

Did you need to taste David Frum's delicious tears? Here you go:

Nom nom nom. |||

One of the more pugnacious advocates of this across-the-board approach is Cathy Reisenwitz, a 28-year-old Washington-based journalist who has a tattoo under her right biceps that reads, "I Own Me." ("What does that mean, 'I own myself?' " David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and Republican commentator, sputtered in exasperation when we spoke later. "Can I sell myself? If I can't, I don't own myself.") […]

In a 1997 Weekly Standard article titled "The Libertarian Temptation," David Frum belittled its followers as feckless hedonists who "claim that snorting cocaine is some sort of fundamental human right." When I recently asked Frum if his feelings toward libertarianism had mellowed, he assured me that they had not.

"It's a completely closed and airless ideological system that doesn't respond well to reality," he said. "Libertarians are like Marxists in that they have prophets like von Mises and Hayek, and they quote from their holy scripture, and they don't have to engage."

Finally, a clip from some of Draper's intriguing interactions with Rand Paul:

You laughed then… |||

I got to the point. Were we living in a libertarian "moment," or was that wishful thinking on the part of Nick Gillespie and others?

"I think a plurality of Americans don't consider themselves to be either Republicans or Democrats," Paul said, citing young people and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs in particular. "I also think there was a time, maybe 30 years ago, when 'libertarian' was a term that scared people. Now I think it seems more like a moderate point of view. So I think the term is something that is definitely attracting, not repelling people." […]

During our conversation, Paul made a point of characterizing libertarianism as being "moderate" rather than liberal on social issues. Movement leaders would likely object, but Paul's preoccupation is with swaying the center-right.

"The party can't become the opposite of what it is," he told me. "If you tell people from Alabama, Mississippi or Georgia, 'You know what, guys, we've been wrong, and we're gonna be the pro-gay-marriage party,' they're either gonna stay home or — I mean, many of these people joined the Republican Party because of these social issues. So I don't think we can completely flip. But can we become, to use the overused term, a bigger tent? I think we can and can agree to disagree on a lot of these issues. I think the party will evolve. It'll either continue to lose, or it'll become a bigger place where there's a mixture of opinions." […]

[L]ater, with an irritated edge to his voice, Paul added: "Some people are purists, and I get grief all the time — all these libertarian websites hating on me because I'm not as pure as my dad. And I'm putting restrictions on foreign aid instead of eliminating foreign aid altogether. And I'm like: 'Look, guys, I'm having trouble putting these restrictions on, much less eliminating them! So give me a break!' "

The whole article is well worth a read.

NEXT: A.M. Links: Obama Defends Executive Power, Snowden Staying in Russia, Ebola Outbreak Worsens

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 or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. New York Times Magazine: “Has the ‘Libertarian Moment’ Finally Arrived?”

    If it has, and this is the best we can hope for, we’re fucked.

  2. By cable TV standards, the show, which is shown four times a week, is jarring…

    TWO MINUTES’ HATE. Comment nominated.

  3. The libertarian moment comes when a plurality of voters realizes that voting against the other side isn’t enough anymore.

    1. So…..never? Is never good for you?

      Not hate the other tribe as sport and a way of life? Where’s the fun in that? How else will I be able to signal my acceptability as a companion or mate?

      1. With cash money?

        1. With a big co…well forget about that.

      2. Display your mighty empurpled buttocks while bellowing lustily

        1. Is empurpled even a word?

          1. No, but his buttocks aren’t really buttocks either

          2. It’s a perfectly cromulent word.

          3. I’ve seen it in print in a proper book, so it must be.

  4. Dude this makes no sense at all man, None.

    1. Well, I won’t waste my time looking at it. You spammers should try to contribute something instead of a total non sequitur.

  5. No. Next question.

  6. I hate Pearl Jam: it may have been the worst grunge band.

    1. Pearl Jam ain’t even grunge. They are a straight ahead, radio friendly rock band. Any ties to grunge were the machinations of record company execs.

      1. But they wore flannel! They wore flannel!

      2. Vedder is a God walking this Earth. Fuck you all.

        1. Eddie Vedder, a god? A 5′ 7″ “god” LOLZ

    2. So this. Never understood what people saw in that band of Goat Boy’s singing.

      1. I think it had something to do with the “Hey, this sounds nothing like that Hair Metal shit I’m getting sick of!” phenomena.

        That and their perceived psuedo-socialist “fuck the record companies, tax the rich assholes” message gave them more mileage then they deserved.

        Jeremy was kind of cool though.

    3. Ted Cruz is not STP. More like Hootie And The Blowfish.

      1. I was thinking Bieber.

  7. There won’t ever be a libertarian moment since the word has no meaning anymore. Aborto-freak police-state conservatives claims to be libertarian are just as hollow as a Mark Cuban/Bill Maher claim. Then you have your anti-Fed goldbug whackjobs.

    Purists will keep the movement stillborn.

    1. Dave! Dave Weigel! Good to see you here, man! You haven’t changed a bit, I tell ya!

    2. Your last sentence is the contradictory to everything else you said.

      1. I’m convinced it’s performance art at this point.

      2. PB never makes any sense.

    3. The link on your username is still super fucking gay.

    4. Re: Peter Caca,

      Aborto-freak police-state conservatives

      “Aborto-freak”! That was actually very funny because it is stupid.

      Then you have your anti-Fed goldbug whackjobs.

      An anti-Fed whackjob is anybody who is not a socialist, in Peter Caca’s mind. Because, want it or not, the Fed is central planning writ large.

      1. This

    5. And “liberal” or “conservative” don’t suffer from the same problem? Obama ran as a progressive and liberal; how is that working out? The socialist parties in Europe are in bed with conservatives and the churches; how is that working out?

    6. Turd.Burglar.

  8. God, it’s like the year of the linux desktop…

    1. Every year since 2000 has been the year of the linux desktop for me.

      1. Exactly.

        1. The OS of the future and it always will be.

    2. It’s been the year of the linux desktop for quite some time since the desktop shrunk down to fit in your pocket.

      1. So what you’re saying is Linux became mainstream once the desktop was no longer the only model for computers. There’s a lesson in there.

        1. Absolutely. It’s only a matter of time; I think it will continue to evolve. Soon, corporations and aspects of the political system will be managed through advanced AI, and it will be more efficient.

  9. rooting for a clarifying Rand Paul/Hillary Clinton showdown

    Oh, that would be clarifying all right. Just not in the way you guys want.

    1. HIllary is the perfect candidate for Randall to cleave in half.

      1. I think Rand wins the young person’s vote over Hillary. All it takes is a 2-3% switch.

        Hillary wins eco-feminists and blacks, but they never vote Repub anyway.

        Unfortunately she wins a lot of Christians too, because of her Baptist roots. But, Paul might do okay in that area, too.

        I think the swing is the NYT, LA Times, WaPo, the mainstream media and TV stations all will go for the historic ‘First Woman President’ moment, and sink him with racist links and homophobic links.

        I think until the US hits its debt wall, which will change everything, the big gov stance of the mainstream will not change and Dems win the presidency.

        1. Rand might win a fair number of blacks too, as long as Hillary refuses to adequately address drug decriminalization and the issue of mass incarceration.

          I hope you’re right about Rand winning the young person’s vote.

  10. …”Let’s say Ron Paul is Nirvana,” said Kennedy, the television personality and former MTV host, by way of explaining the sort of politician who excites libertarians like herself. “Like, the coolest, most amazing thing to come along in years, and the songs are nebulous but somehow meaningful, and the lead singer kills himself to preserve the band’s legacy….

    And I’m lost from the start. Nirvana the most “amazing” thing to come along in years? Please. Perhaps maybe hitting the mainstream, but for me – who had access to alternative as far back as the late 70’s – Nirvana was old hat. I really couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. I liked Unplugged somewhat, but their own stuff was derivative or self-conscious. Comparing Paul to Nirvana is an insult. To me, the best – most listenable over a long haul – band out of the Seattle Granola-Metal/Grunge era was Stone Temple Pilots, as mainstream as they were. If STP ever immersed themselves in their own pretension, I missed it. And even they weren’t “amazing”. Just very good music over a nice stretch that didn’t want to clobber you with “importance”.

    1. I’ve never listened to full albums by either band, but STP’s “Wicked Garden” is better than any Nirvana song I’ve heard.

      1. Yeah, I still like Nirvana but I recognize that they kind of sucked. I did get to see STP live once, that was a lot of fun.

        1. I did get to see STP live once, that was a lot of fun.

          Same here. Good show. Cheap Trick was the opening act. Fucking kids on the floor were trying to mosh to “I Want You to Want Me.” Pathetic.

          1. Ha, Cheap Trick opened for them when I saw them. Must have been the same tour.

            1. REO Speedwagon used to play the lounge at the Holiday Inn in Bloomington, Indiana back in the early ’90’s. My friends and I would go and sing along like maniacs.

            2. Yep. Tiny Music. ’96.

    2. Melvins. Mudhoney. Screaming Trees. Unwound. Fastbacks. etc…

      Seattle produced much better bands than Nirvana. But “tortured heroin addict loser with a fucking insane wife” seemed more marketable. Go figure.

      1. Alice in Chains… don’t forget Alice.

        1. Soundgarden. Green River. Skin Yard.

          Yeah. Nirvana kinda’ does suck.

          Full disclosure, I’m wearing a Nirvana T-shirt as I type this.

          1. Nirvana kinda sucks…? You fucking hipster!

          2. Never could enjoy Soundgarden. Chris Cornell is just too irritating.

            1. But they are the reason for possibly the greatest article of all time.


          3. Temple of the Dog, Mother Love Bone (there’s an oldie for you), Queensryche… ok, I’ve wandered into metal territory.

            1. Nice. Queensryche, yeah.

              1. Queensryche! \nn/

      2. Their music was probably more marketable too. I’ve never been big into Nirvana, but they did good, catchy pop songs.

        I like Nirvana more at this point than I ever have, probably. At the time I was into hating everything that was popular.

        1. At the time I was into hating everything that was popular.

          So you were a hipster before it was cool to be a hipster?

          1. Hmm. I guess. At that time I was mostly listening to Frank Zappa and Rush.

            1. I have to come out of the shadows I lurk in to say Rush is the worst band ever.

              1. You don’t like them. And I can quite understand that. But they are objectively quite good at what they do. Why does everyone want to make their personal aesthetic preferences into universal principles?

                That’s what I’m into now. Acknowledging that there are things that I don’t like that are nevertheless good in their own way.

            2. At the time I was into hating everything that was popular.

              At that time I was mostly listening to Frank Zappa and Rush.

              I loved Rush and Zappa as a kid, and thought it was cool and anti-popular, but later I looked back and realized that if they had a record contract and I could buy their albums in my little podunk town, they weren’t exactly unpopular.

      3. But “tortured heroin addict loser with a fucking insane wife” seemed more marketable. Go figure.

        And you just distilled in a single sentence the mystifying popularity of Sid Vicious over Johnny Rotten.

    3. When I was in college, I liked to joke that alternative music should be called failure music, because the minute any of the artists became successful, the fans would complain that the artist sold out.

      1. I always joked that once alternative became mainstream, what was it an alternative to?

        1. Even at the time I found it very funny how successfully an essentially mainstream pop band could be marketed to the angry teen demographic as some kind of cool outsider thing.

          1. Because the last thing in the world a cool teen wants is something outside the mainstream. He is the mainstream.

        2. The Archies?

        3. Silence?

    4. I never got the whole Nirvana thing either. I hated hair metal and assumed it would end when Metallica’s One hit MTV.

      1. Nirvana did pretty much kill hair metal. Nevermind’s explosion pushed the power-ballad and three minute recorded guitar solos right onto the dustheap. Except for Monster Magnet, which was kind of niche kitsch self-aware throwback.

        1. Monster Magnet are awesome. I went to a MM concert and was so high on a mix of drugs that I spent the concert levitating about 3 feet above the crowd. I was literally out of my mind/body. High on drugs.


      Christ, we should be happy to be getting halfway decent press, not bitching about the merits of Nirvana.

    6. Well, aren’t you just king of the hipsters.

    7. I was an 80s punk… and was in college by the time Nirvana rolled around. It’s probably unfair, but – at least at the time – I thought grunge pretty much killed the alternative music scene as I knew it.

      It also changed people – suddenly “everyone was hip”: Jocks wearing hemp necklaces, blasting grunge… kids who had never seen the inside of a slam pit, suddenly bashing into each other like idiots…

      1. Yeah. You grew up in MI. Necros. Negative Approach. Meatmen. Punk as fuck.

    8. To their credit, they wrote a whole album about Vaginas.

    9. Then Nirvana is the perfect metaphor for Ron Paul: it seemed much better when it was new and now everyone reasonable just wishes it would go away.

    10. My son, a very, very talented rock guitarist, and real estate developer, thinks Nirvana killed rock. Thinks rock has never recovered from Nirvana.

    11. The Pixies ruled them all.

    12. ALL grunge sucked.

    1. That we are gaining traction is indesputable. The only question is how far it goes.

      1. Double digits, here we come!

        1. So we’re counting tenths of a percent?

      2. I think it is most appropriate to say that the Libertarian Moment is possibly arriving.

    2. Oddball: : Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?

      Big Joe: Crap

  11. Meanwhile, the age group most responsible for delivering Obama his two terms may well become a political wild card over time, in large part because of its libertarian leanings.

    Libertarian leaning people vote for pro-war ‘social justice’ populists? If you think Steve Chapman types are libertarians then I guess I can understand why you think a group of Obama apologists qualify as libertarians.

    1. Reason keeps feeding us this “millennials really are libertarians” line but I really don’t see any evidence of it actually being true.

      1. But, but, they support gay marriage! Clearly they do so out of genuine libertarian principles, and not simply because pop culture has drilled into their heads how cool gays are!

      2. I’m a millennial and consequently most of my friends are, and trust me, it’s not true. For whatever reason, Reason wants to hold onto this fantasy that because todays hipsters want pot to be legalized, they’re libertarian. The only reason their against government intrusion in the pot market, is because it affects them personally. Government intrusion involving someone else is perfectly acceptable, actually worse, honorable in their opinion.

        1. One thing that seems a bit hopeful to me in my experience with people in their 20s is that a lot of them don’t care that much about politics. Which is probably the best we can hope for. Kill off the “political is personal” shit.

          1. The only problem with people not caring much about politics is that they can be easily convinced to vote for someone based upon things other than their policies. You know, like that Obama guy. He’s cool and hip. He talks the younger generation’s language. He uses words like “hope” and “change.” He’s black. And he’s running against an uptight old white dude. Policies? What’s that?

            1. Yeah, that’s the other side of it, I guess. And a lot of why “get out the vote” stuff is dominated by prog types.

            2. Pretty much this. The message that get’s through to my friends is “War on Women” and “College Rape Epidemic”. Their positions are as nuanced as the White House twitter feed, which is probably where they get their info.

              1. But 25% of girls are raped while in college! Because any dad would still let his daughter go to college if that stat was even close to right!

                1. but 1/4 ARE raped. This is to be expected with the definition of rape is broadened to include any sex feminists would find politically incorrect.

                  In fact, all heterosexual sex is rape. Fact.

        2. I’d say that the millennial generation is simply starkly divided. I do think there is a more sizeable libertarian contingent in our generation than generations past, but it’s largely offset by a much larger conventional proggie side as represented by

          1. The side that claims to be libertarian is very libertarian until they’re confronted with the reality of that proposition.

            1. Yeah, when they realize that right-wing proposals to give away tax revenue to jobz creatorz won’t help them out personally they vote for someone else. I call this being smart. The opposite, where people vote against their economic interests? Dumb.

              1. “give away” tax revenue. Lol. Because robbing people at gunpoint is totally sustainable. Someone didn’t get the memo about the fate of the Soviet Union.

              2. Re: american stolid,

                Yeah, when they realize that right-wing proposals to give away tax revenue to jobz creatorz won’t help them out personally they vote for someone else.

                Really? They voted for NOT someone else despite giving away REAL money to the likes of Solyndra, not just tax breaks or anything like that. I don’t think you understand politics at all.

                Besides all of that, lowering taxes is not the same as “giving away tax revenue”. The thief does not “give away” anything when he stops thieving.

              3. It’s in my economic interest to vote to stop the government from taking a quarter of my paycheck every month…dumbass.

              4. AmSoc nailed it. People vote for what they can get right now. Not vote for what builds the stronger economy, but their ‘economic interest’, which in the eyes of the economically stupid means free stuff right now.

                1. Lowering taxes on rich people increases economic growth? Who says? Increasing the minimum wage, providing unemployment insurance, EITC certainly do, but making sure The boss, Mr. Koch, has his share of corporate jets? There’s no evidence this builds a strong economy.

                  You are on safer ground talking about the libertarian’s favorite stalking horse– the big badz Soviet Union. Want to talk about what happened to Russia’s economy after the dreaded Worker’s Paradise collapsed and Russian plutocrats got a hold of it?

                  1. +1 Full Retard!

              5. +1 Stimulus!

              6. +1 Stimulus!

              7. Give away tax revenue….

                Well there you have it. Perfect clarity.

          2. I still say that my generation is mostly apathetic and this makes it look a lot worse than it is. Data shows that once they get a real job and stop dicking around with their perpetual ‘education’, they move right.

    2. It’s not necessary that millennials or anyone else be libertarian right now. If they support some libertarian ideas (even if for non-libertarian reasons) then there is at least strategic value. And there is also the possibility that you use those ideas as inroads to trying to convince people to become more libertarian. If you are just sitting around waiting for it to happen, it’s not going to happen.

    3. There’s a Steve Chapman type?!

  12. Has the ‘Libertarian Moment Finally Arrived?

    Only when Bo says so.

    1. I thought it arrived when Goldwater won the nomination? That’s why it’s called a “Moment”, not a decade or century.

  13. I stopped immediately when I saw the word millenial. I just can’t do it anymore!

    1. In the future, replace millenial with milanesa. It helps.

      1. That looks delicious. Perhaps a bit too much bread compared with the meat, but it could be very salty, so that might work out!

    2. burgeoning libertarianism of the millennial generation

      indeed this was as far as I could read. perhaps later after a few cocktails.

  14. No, but I don’t mind a little optimism now and then.

  15. Is Rand Paul grayed out in the photo for this piece because, you know, he wants the government to dictate what medical procedures a pregnant women undergoes or that he is a gay marriage bigot because he believes in Jeebus.

    Speaking of moments, watch your brave son of liberty almost choke on his hamburger and hightail it out of town when he is confronted by immigration protesters. http://www.realclearpolitics.c….._king.html


    Btw, what was rand paul doing at a fund raiser with an unreconstructed autocrat like Steve king? Probably campaigning for MOAR liberty.

    1. You seem afraid.

      1. Self described socialists are always afraid.

        1. Not to mention, complete morons.

    2. I like your use of the word bigot followed immediately my your broad brush description of Christians. Generally people don’t accuse others of bigotry and then express their own without at least one sentence in between!

      1. The key pronoun to watch for is “he”. sorry, I don’t do bill maher. I prefer pope Francis to christopher hitchins

        1. The key is that you described him as a bigot solely because “he believes in Jeebus (sic).” This suggests that anyone who believes in Jesus (I corrected it for you) is a gay marriage bigot. Do you understand how words go together to form ideas?

    3. he wants the government to dictate what medical procedures a pregnant women undergoes

      Don’t you want the government to determine every medical procedure that everyone undergoes?

      1. He wants THE RIGHT PEOPLE to dictate our medical treatments – not some freedom loving lunatic.

        1. I certainly don’t want conservative men to dictate whether abortion should be legal or not.

          1. And I certainly don’t want people I’m not fucking to make me pay for their birth control.

          2. Democracy only works when the right people vote.

          3. ur a doosh

          4. Re: american stolid,

            I certainly don’t want conservative men to dictate whether abortion should be legal or not.

            So if they dictate that it should be legal, you would be ipso facto against their decision, wouldn’t you?

            I’ll take you up on that bet.

            1. I’m pro-choice. If conservatives want to abandon their hyperbole about abortion being genocide I would be all for that.

              I vote mostly for economic reasons. So, given the choice between a pro-choice conservative, who wants to eviscerate social security to give more money to jobz creatorz and a Leftist who wants to keep these types of programs around, I vote for the latter.

              1. I vote mostly for economic reasons.

                You should probably try understanding economics first.

                1. +100000000

                  Gotta say, Weigel/PB is a lot more entertaining than amsoc, who is a sobering reminder of just how epically stupid your average leftist is these days.

                  Even Tony offers more insight than amsoc…

                  1. Tony at least can be mildly clever at times. Very mildly.

                    1. Ya. I actually think I’d get a beer with Tony. But AmSoc is just a straight up retard.

              2. Re: american stolid,

                I’m pro-choice.

                A meaningless statement, coming from you.

                I’m pro-choice. I want to give the opportunity to the unborn to choose life before someone else chooses for him or her. Choosing things for someone else is NOT being “pro-choice.”

                I vote mostly for economic reasons.

                I don’t care. Voting to rob Peter to pay Paul is still participating in theft, whether you want to fancy yourself charitable or not. Social Security is generational theft, no more, no less.

              3. It’s not hyperbole, it’s the only logical conclusion if you believe that a fetus is a human being with individual rights. The only argument is whether there are rights for a fetus like for a person who has been born.

                If there are, it is obviously genocide. No hyperbole necessary. Just a descriptive term for killing millions of innocent human beings with individual rights.

                If there are no rights, then it isn’t genocide. But there still isn’t hyperbole because the pro lifers actually believe it.

                Again, do you understand how words go together to form ideas?

                1. Yes, yes… I’ve heard this candy-assed justification before. I agree with PB’s statement above that the term libertarian is meaningless. I get it… You believe the government should force a women to give birth to her rapist’s baby and you are a libertarian. Gotcha.

                  1. You seem to have trouble with any sentence that can’t fit on a bumper sticker. Let me help you out. The reason some people are against abortion while others are for it is a dispute over when life begins. Most people would object to killing a human being for no reason other than convenience. Being a socialist, you can’t understand this, but pretend for a second that you’re not a blood thirsty would be tyrant.

                  2. Re: american stolid,

                    You believe the government should force a women to give birth to her rapist’s baby and you are a libertarian.

                    I’ll start believing that a woman can kill her rapist’s unborn baby the moment you tell me you believe that a woman should have the right to kill her and her rapist’s born child, because I fail to see the difference between the two if your standard is that the child is the product of a rape.

                  3. I’m sorry, weren’t you just saying that you didn’t like hyperbole? And what don’t you understand about the argument that you can’t kill it if it’s a human with individual rights? Even if you don’t agree, can you wrap your tiny mind around the concept that rape is irrelevant in that case?

                  4. AmSoc….I know a lot of people who are conservative Christians, without question they are all pro-life. However, I don’t personally know anyone who promotes the idea of a woman having to give birth to a rape baby. If that was the whole issue, it would be a non-issue. People would ignore it, they would shrug their shoulders and say ‘man…what can you do?’ That isn’t what is happening.

                    For you to make that argument just shows you can’t make a proper argument. Or, it shows your mind is so narrow it can only see black and white on issues that are very complicated.

                  5. Turd.Burglar.

    4. Re: American Stolid,

      he wants the government to dictate what medical procedures a pregnant women undergoes

      You mean abortion and not gall bladder removal or other REAL medical procedure?

      watch your brave son of liberty almost choke on his hamburger and hightail it out of town when he is confronted by immigration protesters.

      We already saw that on The Independents and Reason. Talk about socialists not being able to calculate…

  16. “What does that mean, ‘I own myself?’ ” David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and Republican commentator, sputtered in exasperation when we spoke later. “Can I sell myself? If I can’t, I don’t own myself.”

    It comes as no surprise that Frum is unaware of the libertarian debate over the question of whether ownership of the self is inalienable or not.

    To an authoritarian who only understands brute force, it probably seems silly to say that an individual owns himself vis a vis other human beings.

    1. It’s a silly semantic argument to distract from his hairline.

      1. I gaggled.

    2. Of course you can sell yourself, Frum…you asshole. Shitfilled herpes riddled cunts like Frum believe that since prostitution and selling your organs is illegal that equals “you can’t sell yourself.” Frum certainly sold himself(and soul) when he hitched his 2 cm dick to the Neo-con train of retarded doom. Disingenuous mother fucker.

    3. Well, it is a valid line of argumentation. “Self-ownership” as a starting premise is at best analogous in nature, and doesn’t really prove what it sets out to prove if you can simply ignore alienation of property, which is at the core of property is all about. Still, considering that we are talking about Frum and that there are other ways to arrive at libertarianism… I’m not inclined to give his thinking the gold star treatment.

    4. I he doesn’t own himself, the alternative is that I or someone else owns him and can buy and sell him at will. But I guess I would expect a slaver to accept that alternative.

      1. No, the alternative is that you are not property.

  17. Since libertarianism is built around the non-aggression principle deciding whether or not someone is a libertarian should be based on that.

    And if he’s wearing a Rothbard shirt or tie. Anyone sporting a Rothbard shirt is most likely a libertarian, since only 300 people in the world know who Murray Rothbard is, and the person sporting the shirt is wearing it to get a thumbs-up from others.

    1. ***is NOT wearing it to get a thumbs-up from others.

      1. I don’t understand this argument. That suggests that there isn’t a market for Rothbard shirts. Why would a Libertarian make a shirt for which there was no market unless he was trying to get a thumbs up?

        1. Come to think of it, it’s a brilliant idea: People come up to you and ask who the guy on your shirt is. You give a sixty second explanation and hand the person a copy Anatomy of the State as well as For a New Liberty.

          1. I don’t have enough pockets for all that!!!

            1. Because you will be inundated with people asking you who the guy on your shirt is right?

              1. I’m really charismatic!

    2. The drummer in my friend’s band outed himself in just this way. Percussionist? I’m not sure he uses a drum kit, and I’m pretty sure he has an advanced degree. Can you be a drummer with an advanced degree?

  18. the burgeoning libertarianism of the millennial generation


    1. Seriously.

    2. I stop reading any article the second I see the word millennial in it now.

    3. I’m pretty sure that all of the polling data out there right now essentially says, “Millenials are socially liberal and increasingly economically conservative…until they are asked specifically what government programs they want to cut…and then they say they want more government programs.”

      “Millenials” are basically just another generation of deficit-spenders.

      1. IOW, they’re like the rest of America but they have a politically aware libertarian contingent greater than other generations had at this point in time.

  19. Re: alan_s,

    The only reason their against government intrusion in the pot market, is because it affects them personally.

    In regards to that, ther’s a great joke that explains that attitude from people:

    A socialist party sympathizer was visiting the local farms to talk to the local farmers and see if he could convince a few to join the local chapter.

    He was talking to one, and the farmer asked for some examples so he could understand what was this socialism he was selling.
    “Well,” started the socialist, “if you have cows, then everyone in the party can share the milk from those cows.”
    “Ah, all right!” nodded in agreement the farmer
    “And if you have sheep, then all share the wool!”
    “Ah, good! Good! That sounds good,” answered in agreement the farmer.
    The socialist was becoming very encouraged at the farmer’s agreement.
    “And if you have chickens, then all of us share the eggs!”
    “But, but,” said the socialist in amazement, “you agreed to all the other things!”
    “Yes, but that is because I have no cows or sheep. I only have chickens!”

    The socialists will always agree to partake in the redistribution of someone ELSE’S wealth.

    1. And the problem is that most Democrats AND Republicans are socialists.

      1. Yes, that is the case. Pretty much.

      2. The problem is that most didn’t bother working hard enough or saving to acquire much wealth – that’s why the Dems obsessively scream about “the 1%”

      3. “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

        1. Where’s the damned “Like” button? I want to “Like” that post so hard!

    2. What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.

      1. That’s marriage actually.

  20. As one 30-year-old libertarian senior staff member on the Hill told me: “I think we expected this sort of thing from Bush. But Obama seemed to be hip and in touch with my generation, and then he goes and reads our emails.”


    1. “libertarian” senior staffer.

  21. Nick Gillespie is to libertarianism what Lou Reed is to rock ‘n’ roll, the quintessence of its outlaw spirit. He is 50, a former writer for teen and heavy-metal magazines, habitually garbed in black from head to toe, wry and mournful in expression, a tormented romantic who quotes Jack Kerouac.

    I would take it as a tremendous insult to be described as a “tormented romantic” in my 50s.

    But after a while, it would be like, ‘So if we agree on limited government, how about opening the borders?’ No, that’s crazy. ‘How about legalizing drugs? How about giving gays equal rights?’ No, come on, be serious. And so I thought, There’s nothing in this for me.”

    Pot, Mexicans, and ass-sex? Way to play to John’s line.

    1. As long as people keep saying “Pot, Mexicans and Ass Sex”, I’m happy.

      1. I am perfectly content with sodomizing Latina chicks while stoned. Does that make me a libertarian?

        1. Hell yes. Values like those are what made our country great.

        2. Only if she consents to your sodomizing her.

          If she doesn’t then you should be strung up by the balls and beaten with a baseball bat until your dead.

          1. You obviously didn’t get the memo. Libertarians endorse rape because war on wymenz and patriarchy.

        3. Hell, you could enjoy being sodomized my Mexicans of either gender while you or they are stoned and be welcomed. Its a big tent.

    2. Lou Reed


    3. *a tormented romantic who quotes Jack Kerouac.*

      If you are 50 years old and can quote Kerouac, either you just read him (which is pretty sad)–or you didn’t give yourself enough brain damage since you read it at 16 to forget that tripe.

  22. So this is where we’re at? Using fucking rock bands as analogies to the ‘libertarian” moment?

    Epic miss. Though they fall straight into my generation, I never got or got into Nirvana and Pearl Jam (and even less so Stone Temple Pilots. I’m surprised she didn’t invoke Green Day) not that there’s anything wrong with them. Fine bands in their own right but to connect them to my political sensibilities misses the mark she was aiming for I feel.

    If you want to be mature, at least use Mozart, Beethoven and Bach or something. And if we’re going to use classical music as an analogy, this crop of libertarians is more Monteverdi. That is, in the early stages of development.


    1. I find it humorous that the bands used are all crappy sorts that Gen X would’ve listened to…sooooo, we’re trying to market ourselves to the smallest cohort in the USA? Brilliant marketing, man.

  23. The comments on the article are so stuffed with fallacies it’s pathetic. Is that the best progs have to offer?

    1. It’s always been. The sad part, though, is that it works on people. (Not here obviously, but among the populace as a whole)

  24. They will lump all the libertarians in together and promote the anarcho libertarians as the face of libertarianism, in order to make people fearful of Paul.

    1. That is what they do. Except of course when it comes to Dems. In which case not only are the most brain dead ignored, but even the brain dead statements of the leadership are ignored.

  25. But the Republicans will definitely have to move to the left on social issues.


    This is the problem right here.

    NO ONE should ‘move left’. Ever.

    Left offers no freedom, no liberty. Every nice thing is a trap. It’s a set of words designed to get idiots to say okay and not notice that the price for that nice thing is more control to the left.

    equality–doled out by the left
    minority rights–arbitrated by the left
    legal drugs–monitored by the left
    LGBT rights–at the whim of the left.

    The whim.

    Because that’s what it is. In no leftist nation is there equality–save for equality of misery. Minorities are used as scapegoats when a scapegoat is needed. Drugs are thoroughly controlled by the State–and you do NOT want to be gay in a leftist country.

    But they’ll say all the pretty words for as long as it takes to turn enough of the people’s brains into wallpaper paste.

    Nothing good ever comes from ‘moving left’.

    (con’t–I really hate that limit)

    1. (con’t)

      What republicans–AND libertarians need to do is show that there’s a path to greater freedom, real equality and expanded liberty that doesn’t lead through Marxist fever swamps, that doesn’t require sucking up to totalitarians who hide behind a facade of ‘cool’.

      And one of the first things we can do is stop suggesting that people who want to expand ‘social’ liberties have to move fucking left.

      I understand that a lot of libertarians are recovering leftist brainrot victims who have a real problem with the idea that they’ve moved to the ‘right’ of their former position–and that they don’t understand that it is the leftist brainrot that makes them wince at the term ‘right’, but that’s just too damned bad.

      Every ‘socially liberal’ thing I want is a direct outgrowth of my ‘fiscally conservative’ stance. And all of it intertwines nisely with my desire for limited government.

      Gay marriage? get government out of marriage.
      Legal drugs? Get rid of the DEA, The FDA, the ATF, and all the assorted bureaucracies whose sole purpose is keeping me from doing what I want with MY body. And hey, this one covers a lot.

      Everything we want, we can get without moving left, so let’s do that, okay?

      1. + a lot

      2. Amen. To me it ain’t complicated. Left is the direction of more state, right is the direction of less state. Why is the “right” so tainted for sainted millennials? Because of its association with statist Republicans, which by definition, are not right wing.

        If only people were required to hang Orwell’s ‘Politics and the English Language’ on their bedroom walls, this culture of meaningless and distortive language and labeling could be done away with. That’s my one statist solution. Mandatory Orwell posters in every bedroom.

        1. “Left” and “right” are terms without applicability outside of TEAM pissing match. Making blanket statements such as this (to which there are as many counter-examples as examples) merely illustrates the degree to which tribalism permeates political thought, even amongst those sympathetic to libertarianism.

      3. Perfectly put.

        I have a bumper sticker which says:

        “My other home is on Nighted Yuggoth!”

      4. Really well put. People give credit to the left for gay marriage, for example. It was my right wing buddies, economic right wing, who first came around to gay marriage about 15 years ago, not my leftie friends. The left all moved in a mass about ten years ago, but strictly for political reasons.

        It was my right wing friends who said, “I couldn’t care less who marries whom.’

  26. I don’t think so and let me tell you why.

    1) Because the Libers are corrupt right out of the gate! Look no further than Rand. Vacillating all over the place to get elected… can’t talk like a puritan then act like that crap.

    2) The Libers like to bash “parties” but that’s exactly what they are – party first then ideology. A.K.A. hypocrites. We already have two parties doing that and one (the R’s) we are trying to return to its roots. Don’t need a third.

    3) The ideology NO ONE WANTS! At least not the majority – we don’t like your “imperialist” accusation towards our country and you can shove it where the sun don’t shine! History proves you wrong… period!

    4) We don’t want the two extremes of both far left and far right – that is also known as INSANE.

    Bottom line is… we don’t want NEO Confederates!

    1. Translation:


  27. So if we agree on limited government, how about opening the borders?
    Once again I feel left out in the cold. I keep thinking I’m a Libertarian but the “tent” seems so very small. I voted in vain for Ron Paul, I read Reason daily, I read Atlas Shrugged, oh grief! Does anyone have a link to the libertarian litmus test?

    1. No, because you see, government is a monument to corruption, excess, and inefficacy, but the one thing it is definitely capable of is the is impossible task of sealing our borders.

  28. I think not

  29. The way punk rock killed dinosaur, magic costume (think Jimmy Page) arena rock, so too did grunge kill MTV hair metal.

    The real bands were 7 Year Bitch, Veruca Salt and L7. Nirvana and Peal Jam were horrible poseurs. Poseur guilt likely drove Cobain to off himself.

    Soundgarden and Alice in Chains were legit and coincident wit the Grunge era.

  30. Basically the only thing I got from this article is that Matt Welch really gets to get it over with and have sex with Rand Paul, and Lisa Kennedy needs to develop her own opinions about 90s music.

  31. Not gonna happen. I wrote an open letter to the LP and it resulted in one of their campaign coordinators requesting to talk to me personally. After close to an hour on the phone, I’m convinced they are clueless and couldn’t run a winning campaign if they had the only candidate in the race.
    The Libertarian Party is too interested in trying to play the game the same as the Repulicrats and Democans, courting big pocket corporatist sponsors rather than stirring up the grass roots. They’re destined to be a footnote in election history.

  32. People who claim libertarians are liberal don’t understand libertarianism. I may think divorce is wrong, but I don’t want the state jailing people who divorce. Thomas Aquinas wrote that everything immoral should not be illegal. In that respect he was a libertarian.

    1. Reasonoids don’t understand libertarianism as well. The leaders of Reason are liberal crypto-republicans.

      Legalization of anything is anti-libertarian. Yet, the liberal crypto-republicans of forever agitate for legalized gay marriage, legalized pot smoking, legalized illegal aliens.

      Libertarianism means living by liberty, or where makers of law are content to leave alone anyone.

      Where there is law, there must be duty and corresponding right. Right cannot exist without duty and duty cannot exist without right. Where there is duty, there isn’t liberty.

      The cult of gets wrong mostly everything about libertarianism and gets nothing right about trade.

      REASONOIDS OF REASON.COM, AMERICA’S CRYPTO-REPUBLICANS” ends up being a disappointment for authentic libertarians. It’s a fun site for pseudo-libertarians though.

      1. Pro-tip for smack:

        Don’t do crack

        1. Pro-tip for Jefferson’s Ghost:

          Hire a cult de-programmer to help yourself.

          1. Another Protip for Smackyboy. There is something called “Marketing”. I know it may be a hard subject to master, but you will get it eventually. Reason Magazine uses it with a great deal of success. =)

      2. The litmus test is the 14th Amendment. DC libertarians want DC to make sure all 57 states are free. Real libertarians want DC to disband and go home.

  33. Interesting article. The timing is perfect for the rise of the Libertarian Party. The people are restive and angry with the two parties. George Bush led the Republicans into the wilderness and burned the map. They are lost for another 10 years. The Demos had a chance and fumbled. Obama disrespects the rule of law unless it is his own. If Paul can stay on topic about Foreign policy that is the easiest to handle. Enlightened self-interest. Done and dusted.

    1. -1 Disrespect is not a verb.

    2. -1 Disrespect is not a verb.

    3. David Harsanyi doesn’t think the libertarian moment has arrived.…..ot-arrived

  34. Nah, you can’t have a true libertarian moment when the federal budget is 3.8 trillion dollars. That’s over 10,000 dollars per American, or over 10 billion dollars a day. Maybe when the federal budget hits 4 trillion our libertarian moment will truly arrive.

  35. The Libertarian moment arrived on 4 July 1776.

  36. Obama seemed to be hip and in touch with my generation, and then he goes and reads our emails

    “You fucked up! You trusted [him]!”

  37. I read the article at the N.Y. Times website. I also read the reader’s comments. I don’t recall ever reading such a hatefest as is in those reader’s comments, either in numbers of disdainful comments or in intensity.

    From those comments, I’ve learned a real lesson about liberals attitudes about libertarianism. I seriously think they would prefer any of the conservatives they love to hate over any libertarian. They’d vote for the hated George W. Bush before they would vote for Rand Paul or Gary Johnson.

    Their ire seems to center around libertarian opposition to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the FDA, and economic regulation. Many make a criticism that libertarians have not articulated alternatives, which I think is valid. We have not adequately articulated alternatives to the above. Even if we did, likely, they would still be as hateful. I think the majority of them are risk averse and anything that is not “guaranteed” by the force of government would be unsatisfying to them.

    To be sure, the readership of the N.Y. Times is quite liberal, with many extreme liberals amongst them. Reading their comments has definitely changed my attitude towards liberals.

    I wonder what the readers’ comments would be like if the same piece had been run in a conservative paper like say the Manchester Union-Leader, or even the Orange County Register. Either way, my concept of liberals has changed. They seem to hate us way more than do conservatives.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.